The Night Sky

This week, as I walked the dog through my suburban neighborhood, I gazed up into the night sky to what seemed like an infinite number of stars spread out in haphazard fashion. It was as if someone took a large container, shook it, and twirled around and around peppering the heavens with glittering, wondrous luminosity. I imagined Jackson Pollock filling his paintbrush with yellow stars, and frenetically splattering--the sky his empty canvas. I was delighted at first. I recalled moments of first love, wet grass under tippy toes, on a humid July night. I had glanced up into the same night sky filled with hope and longing for the future, staring into the eyes of a would-be soul mate who would never play such a role.

I recalled the same moon, I now marveled at in my 40th year, through five-year-old eyes. I was once again in a pale blue Plymouth, circa 1980, as I hummed along to Eddie Rabbit crooning about rainy nights. I wondered if the same moon would follow me all the way home. I was surprised and delighted when it did. It was with some sadness that I woke up the following morning to a bright sun that, I was sure, had stolen my new found friend. The night sky had vanished and I was left with a paler version of daylight blue.

Years later I would stare at the same moon through a telescope with my eldest child, as we studied and recorded the phases of the moon. The same sky connected our childhood experiences and once again, with utter amazement, I remembered with a combination of childish fear and awe, how insignificant and small I was. I understood as the stars made patterns and shapes, I was unable to recall and identify from middle school science, the vastness and unpredictability of the universe, of life.

I remembered lying on my back in the snow as I frantically waved my arms and legs with the boundless energy only a child knows. Snow angels made under the stars, after one of the worst blizzards in recorded history. The moon only a sliver of itself, in crescent form, shown off the white packed powder providing just enough light to see.  

I remembered the same sky in 1983, as I listened to my brother after he thought everyone slept, cry for the mother he had loved and lost, the one I had never known. I understood that she had once watched the same sky, and even then I understood that she wouldn’t ever again. I imagined her just beyond it in heaven, a place I was sure she had gone.

As I ventured back to the present, I walked past my driveway, and toward the end of the street, with the dog we had rescued. I whispered in a voice reminiscent of the one I imagine I wore as a young girl, “What are we all doing here, under this great and lonely sky?” It was the same question I had pondered since childhood. I wondered if somewhere on the other side, there sat a little girl peering through the blackness waiting to pluck us from this world into her own. I had imagined her again, as I once had when I was a girl. In my imagination, she was just like me.

Were we alone, I still questioned as I stood staring through my own windows into the home I had made and filled with children and memories. Lights revealed life and activity, a microcosm of the universe, one I created. For a moment, I stood outside separate. And then I glanced, once more, into the sky I had known for the entirety of my life and smiled. It was frightening and telling, filled with the memories, fears, and hopes I had then, and still cling to now. The sky had changed little. It was a constant, and with that knowledge came comfort. I was a part of the vastness, and though I feared, questioned and was forever in awe of it, it was a part of me.

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**Image courtesy of Pixabay.


  1. Aw, beautiful reflections and I will say that it is times like these that definitely give me pause to think back on my youth and where I thought I'd be and where I am actually now, as well.

  2. Beautiful descriptions! This made me reminisce about my childhood days of little-to-no responsibility and a sense of reckless abandon. I miss those days although I often find myself living vicariously through my childhood memories.

  3. It does make you feel a bit smalle, doesn't it?

  4. Love how you depict the night sky as the constant that unites all your memories & all the people you've been and roles you've served in your life.

  5. So glad you are writing again, just beautiful.

  6. Thank you for sharing this very nice post awesome keep sharing.
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