Thursday, January 15, 2009

Star Magic


It was time when my summer world smelled of pine trees and lake water. I was about seven years old and our family was living at the New Jersey Camp For Blind Children where my dad was the camp director. My teenage sisters worked there as well. My mother helped the cook and the camp nurse on their days off. We lived in a stone and wood lodge with a hearth and a staircase that had the best banister to slide down that I have ever seen.

My summer friends were blind and visually impaired kids from all over the state. I spent a lot of time in an apple tree with a girl named Lois. We used to throw apples at unsuspecting passersby. I swam in the lake every day. We had campfires at night and told stories and sang songs.I remember the words to every song. There was a bat that lived in the rafters in my room one summer. Every night I caught little toads that seemed to be everywhere. Camp smelled good, it felt good, it was my happiest place. It still is. I go there now and I feel the same sense of awe that I felt one very special night....

My parents woke me up in the middle of one night to see- what I swear I heard them say - a "comic". I remember thinking that comic book must be awfully special for them to wake me up before dawn to read it. But then my mom said there were comets and shooting stars and that we had to get up and see them- I think it was the probably the Perseids meteor shower. My dad wanted me to wake up and see the shooting stars. He was very adamant. He wanted us all to get up in the middle of the night and see the stars streak across the sky.
The sky was very clear. There were many falling stars - I looked at them as I inhaled the rich night scented air of the camp. We could see the Milky Way . My mother said," It never ends, it goes on forever, there is no ceiling"! My sister told me that some of the stars that we are looking at might not even be there anymore because it takes light such a long time to travel to us. I felt like my world had been turned upside down. I knew my life was changed for ever. The stars blazed across the sky and I watched, amazed. I felt small and big at the same time. It was the most wonderful thing I had ever seen. I was drunk on awe. I was blissful. I was scared. I was shivering. Something woke in side of me. I swear I heard music from the sky that night.

In 1997 my dad was dying of Alzheimers. it was the year of the Hale-Bop comet. My mother loved that comet - she told me that she said "good night" to it every night. She could see it out of the window of the apartment that we had rented in our town when we brought them down to live near us. I wanted my dad to really see the comet, to know it was there. I took him to a church outside of town, to a place where the light from the towns is dim. Where the sky is clear. We stood in the field and I pointed at the comet. He looked at it and smiled a bit and then got distracted. I pointed it out to him again and he said,"It all moves so fast. You can barely catch a glimpse of it, It moves so fast." Every time I pointed it out to him he saw it as if for the first time. Seen, forgotten, seen again anew.

It all moves so fast. It really is over in the blink of an eye. I stare at the sky now every night and thank my parents for waking me that particular night at Camp Marcella.

In 2001 my husband and I woke our kids up in the middle of the night and took them up to a dark hillside to see the Leonid Meteor shower. We had heard that it was going to be the best meteor shower ever! We told the kids about the tail of the comet that was raining stars on us. My eldest daughter told her sister that some of the stars in the distance might not be there any more. We talked about the fact that the sky never ends. I saw my childrens' eyes get big. I saw their lives change. I watched them discover awe. I winked up at my mom and dad who had died a few years before. I know I heard music from the sky that night.
It all moves so fast. It is all so beautiful.

16 comments:

Jo said...

You have a beautiful blog. I'm going to come back when I have more time, and in the meantime, I am going to link to you.

Cheers!
Jo

only a movie said...

First reading pass: crying.
I will come back and read again.
Love you.

only a movie said...

Second pass: Had a dream last night with Grandma in it. She was cheerful and reassuring. I miss her.

only a movie said...

Third pass: Many of my very best memories involved marveling at something awesome in the sky.
Thank you.

Kathy said...

so cool. how true that there is no ceiling. your mom was a smart lady. :) and they were cool for waking you up in the middle of the night to have that memory

Irish Gumbo said...

That was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I had chills, because I had almost identical experiences and conversations with my G-maw, when I was a boy. She loved stars and meteors, we watched quite a few showers...awesome story!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

That was such a beautiful post on so many levels. It all does move so fast.

amy said...

i just stopped in because someone who loves you dearly suggested everyone who reads her blog stop in.

this was wonderful. nd oh yes: it all moves so fast, and it is all so beautiful.

my "comet" was being woken up in the middle of the night when i was 7 to watch puppies being born. i hope i get to share something amazing in the middle of the night with my child.

this was beautiful and touching. :-)

Reya Mellicker said...

Comets scare me. I guess I'm not that different from people throughout time. They're beautiful, but they feel malicious to me. Bizarre, isn't it?

Hey there crone51, I'm going to be on the Capitol grounds at the inauguration - purple west lawn. Where will you be standing?

Cristin said...

This was perfection... I did my share of star gazing in the woods of Nova Scotia... I thought the singing stars were an effect of the shrooms.

Ronda Laveen said...

Lovely post. Yes, I remember The year of Hale-Bop '97. That was also the year of the mass suicide of beings slipping over to the 5th dimension. In the spring of that year, right at Vernal equinox they left. It was a very powerful time to have shared with your father. My mother crossed over in the fall of 2007 after spending a long time with Alzhiemer's. I truly understand the...quikcly distracted part.

StarbuckBitch said...

Sniffle...Love you! That was so nice...I wish I could remember them better.

thistle said...

You've made me miss walking dogs late in the evenings in the summer and stopping to watch the shooting stars, i may have to start doing that again. I am so blessed that i live in an area that is always dark enough to see the stars (if we're not clouded over)...

Great post!

Staci said...

That was such a heartfelt and moving post. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I'll never look at the comets and stars the same way again.

dbag said...

i dont read your blog very often considering i concur with your political standpoint, although i enjoy the way you carry yourself in your writing (seemingly like a conversation) BUT this post: many gripping revelations. well done.

crone51 said...

Thanks for the kind words everyone!