I can’t explain where or when this adoration for the night sky and everything beyond it started, nor do I think I could ever find the words to properly do it justice. It’s always been this way and most likely always will be. The best part though, is the older I get, the more entranced I am by all of it. I’ve gotten older and begun to understand a minimal fraction of the things that space holds but no matter what I seem to understand, I always end up amazed.
There have been plenty of nights where I should be sleeping and instead find myself outside, lying in the road with my eyes to the sky. That’s all it takes-those silent nights where the world and the sky are all mine-to make me happy. I can’t help it, I really can’t, and I’ll probably have the worst neck one day, but no matter where I am or what I’m doing, my eyes are always looking up.
The other night NASA launched a rocket going to the moon and thanks to the clear skies, the whole east coast of America could stand outside and watch the launch. I bundled up and sat watching the feed for an hour, waiting until it was time to go outside, and when the clock ticked down to 11:35, I ran out to prepare myself. Standing there in the cold, wrapped in a blanket, my laptop the only light and the countdown from the feed the only sound, I held my breath and looked up.
I was worried I’d miss it, if I’m being honest. But when the rocket finally sailed across my piece of sky, I knew I would have never missed it. A bright orange orb filled the sky and for 138 seconds it lit up the sky and left me with a lopsided grin.
To you, it’s maybe just a rocket. To me, it’s hope and joy and progress and everything good I have ever loved and held dear.
We did that. Humans. We have sent actual people to the moon. We have built rockets that have left.our.solar.system.
The sight of a clear starry night has always take my breath away, but this. This was something magical that I don’t think will ever happen again. When the rocket had left the atmosphere and was out of my sight, I was left with millions of tiny silvery lights strewn across black velvet and I couldn’t help but plop down and just watch.
Perhaps to you, they’re just stars. They’re out most nights, and we see them all the time. But that’s not true. They’re balls of gas that have come to exist long before we were here and they’ll be here long after we’re gone. The stars you see now existed 527 years ago. Things change and people go, but when I look up, I know that my stars will always be there shining.
Maybe that’s it, then. They’re the comfort I’ve had every night, from childhood to now, and the one thing I know will exist 60 years from this exact moment. Even when I can’t see them, they’re there. The moon will always be the same, no matter what it looks like; the stars will always shine; and this universe and the possibilities for you and me and for life will always and forever be expanding.
Scientists say that 90% of the particles and chemicals that make humans up come from stars that existed at one point in time; 90% of you is a star and that’s why when you laugh and you thrive and you live, you shine so bright.
You are just as magical and awe-inspiring and unique as the night sky, remember that and know you will get through anything and I promise that the night sky will always be there to guide you home.