Starry Skies

August 31, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Patricia and I used to share a sleeping bag on a picnic table to watch a meteor storm when the weather was too cold for less. We would lie there together with the sky, all rippled by the zip of fleeting meteor trails ripping in seconds’ worth of drama. These are not shooting stars, no matter what we call them and if they were, you would have to bring your long list of wishes ready to name them in the swift passage of light the particles of dust and rock that are the actual stuff of the show.

Don’t worry. There is no comparison between those frail flashes and our own meagre lives here on earth, but perhaps a simple notion of taking advantage of the moments to enjoy such a spectacle when the chance comes to witness it.

Tucked up together, we told each silly imaginings the night presented to us, like defining the shapes of clouds or comparing how a breeze shifting the leaves on a bush to look like a company of leafy fingers dancing or waving.

Don’t worry. This is not a rant against what we lose by always having our eyes pointed at our screens of virtuality rather than the spectacular truth overhead, but perhaps a reminder to look up once in a while.

Patricia and I used to ride our horses in the local woodlands and in a little area we called “Faery Land” because all summer season long, the leaves were golden, and our imaginations tempted us irresistibly to think of the laughter and songs of such whimsical souls and the privilege of riding such fine steeds through a space of magic and joy.

Don’t worry. This is not a call to remember what it was to be a child with all the world of wonder to invite imagining but perhaps a suggestion to set today’s children free from the ready-to-go tripe on their baby-sized screens.

Can you tell it is late – again?

What is the night for but to recall what has been best in our lives and remind ourselves to do more of that in future? Very recently, we attended a party of wonderful friends, people we have known for many years, and watched their lives grow and change — their happiness and tragedies, ours too.

One of the gentlemen suffers a genetic condition that, bit by bit, has rendered him blind. His is primarily an office job, his station in his business is elevated and where he will stay regardless of his affliction. His partner has stood by him in the full knowledge of how his sight will and has failed but she is stalwartly at his side, and we have no idea of how much help he needs that she willingly gives him. Heroes, both of them, in so many ways.

While I applaud them, my mind drifts to the other stories we hear – really – every day of our lives of other afflicted persons and their custodians, their helpers or how they stand alone for the most part. It makes me wonder what is our real job in this life when it comes to whom we are here to help.

“You are your brother’s keeper,” we are told and can it be that rule still applies?

Sometimes, when I’m shopping in a grocery store, especially in the winter, and a homeless person sits near the shop with a “homeless” sign, I come out with a cup of soup and a bun as the least one can do by way of providing a small warmth and sustenance. One never knows if the sign tells the truth, but can one take the chance of neglect?

As we more and more see signs of homelessness and hunger in this extremely rich country, in what why are those “brothers” our job to keep? If we can afford to shop at all, is it our job to share in some measure with a person who has much less than our little or has nothing at all?

What else is our job but to seek in the bigger picture ways to lessen the growing crowds at the shelters and the food banks? Do we collaborate with others better off, like ourselves and contribute to those who have ideas that work by adding our muscles to theirs?

It is truly strange to think of how much talk there is about people with little or nothing, how many good ideas and ideals there are passed around in conversations, in the press and on those screens. Some of it is actually sincere, actually meaningful and caring. It is devastating to see how little of them can possibly come to fruition because, somehow, there is no real desire to resolve the needs of the many coming from the top of our social “food chain.”

From the height of wealth and politics, there is plenty of hollow talk.

Don’t worry. This is not necessarily an observation it is strange indeed. In spite of what we laughingly call progress with our looney-tune technology robbing us of our lives and ruining the fine minds and imaginations of our children, this world harkens back completely to Dickens’ Victorian tales.

Or, perhaps, it is.

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