brilliant trail of light, Earth, gift, humility, poetic essay, reflection, satellite, shooting star
Reflection on Ground and Sky
©Betty Luceigh, 5/25/17
In the coolness of early morning yesterday, I pulled wild grass near my country home. They grew from the heavy rains of winter and provided a lush green natural lawn to enjoy for several months. Dry now, they have become a threat for wildfires that the intense heat of summer can bring. So I bent and kneeled and pulled and lugged those that couldn’t be reached with the weed whacker. I can’t say I was thankful in those moments, but I was a participant in a cycle of nature around me as I leaned over and repeatedly touched the ground. Now and then I disturbed a rock that rolled down the hill below me to a new resting place.
That same evening, after the heat of day had passed and I could sit comfortably on my uncovered deck, I looked upward to the dark skies. I had been missing my star-friends. I felt a warm familiarity knowing they had never left while I fretted below about dry grass and budgets and politics and aching limbs. I spotted a satellite travelling its arc above Earth. There, among all the stars born from the evolution of the universe, was something literally made by the hands of man. It had been assembled consciously from Earth materials, sent into the atmosphere, and now had a function to send and receive signals with other humans. Yet it was also a simple white dot among other white dots, distinguishable at this distance only by its motion.
Without any warning, my eye caught another movement through the skies. It was a shooting star, a meteor that seemed as close as holiday fireworks! The rock was brilliantly lit, larger than I had ever seen, and it left a broad trail of light that lingered long enough for me to see the whole of it. It was like a brushstroke of white had been painted right before me by some heavenly hand. In that moment, my thoughts ceased. All memories of ground and wild grass vanished. I became connected solely to that shooting star and became a witness of its grand flight of death. Only afterwards did I realize I would never know the life story of that rock. Where was it made and how? How long had it travelled through space before reaching Earth? And more significant to me, how did I come to be sitting on my deck, eyes observing above, just as it burned through its final moments in an expression of intense light now held in my human memory.
How small I felt in the context of such an event! Yet would that meteor’s magnificent reminder to be humble have ever offered such a gift had I not happened to be looking its way to receive it?
And so today, I return to face the ground and pull more wild grass, but this time certainly can say I will be thankful while doing so. And if I disturb a rock that rolls down the hill, I will remember the gift of that shooting star rolling through the heavens.