Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cosmic Candles

On one of my adolescent birthdays, my bestie, Carmen, and I climbed up on my the roof of my dad's house with sleeping bags and pillows. We snuggled down in our sleeping bags, feeling the cool night air fresh on our faces and turned our heads skyward to watch the cosmos put on a light show in celebration of my birthday, known to others as the Perseids meteor shower.

In the light of the millions of stars and the soft glow of the milky way's spiral arm, I never knew where I should look—which one of the tiny lights would suddenly take flight across the sky. The roof was not flat and we oozed inch by inch toward the gutter as we waited. We talked about young girl things and kept a careful watch, then one of our arms would fly up, “Did you see it?!”

As we pointed another would flash then one would burn so bright and streak across our entire field of sky that we waited followed it to see if it would crash somewhere. They never did, the curvature of the earth brought them behind the dark forms of the tall douglas fir trees that encircled our house.

It was magnificent.

I’ve always been irrationally flattered by the coincidence of the showers landing on my birthday. As one who struggles with self-worth, I choose to see it as God reminding me that my existence means something beyond what I achieve, or earn, or other performance metric… That in simply being, I have value.

Reality check.

The earth is passing through a debris cloud left by a comet called Swift-Tuttle—cosmic garbage that catches fire when it barrages the earth like the cloud of bugs that splattering against a windshield. It has been doing this long before my birth and will continue long after I’ve returned to dust.


Dandelion are noxious weeds.

The clover and buttercup in our lawn are the result of neglect and sometimes my kids step on bees.

The Norwegian maple tree in my backyard is an invasive species whose roots are lifting our concrete.


Dandelions light up my kids’ faces as they present me with a lovely bouquet. They are food for bees and feed my children's longing for magic as they make wishes.

Clover petals are sweet on my tongue, just as they were when I was five. Buttercups provide a little cheer in an otherwise plain lawn and are an oasis for bees in the desert of suburban neighborhoods.

The maple lovingly provides the shade for my hammock, a place for my kids to test their climbing skills, and an anchor for our slackline.

Reality? Our planet hurls through space at 30 Kilometers per second, splatting cosmic mosquitoes on our atmospheric windshield.


Happy Birthday Amy.  You matter and I love you.

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