At 10:22 pm, the international space station, for a span of minutes only, rising and setting across the northern sky, whizzing through Cassiopeia’s vanity, reflecting all our grasping for higher power.
The comet Neowise, dangling from the Big Dipper, three miles of ice in a six thousand year orbit, white hair blown back by solar winds, streaming ‘this summer only’ across the big screen, the first I’ve ever seen.
And fireflies, gleaming in the tall grasses by the water, rising like sparks from struck coals, courting nocturnal admirers, winking at our chasing eyes, as mysteriously luminous as the heavenly bodies above.
And we five, around our own firelight, mere steps from the incoming sea, gathering, seeing, rejoicing, feeling our place in the Milky Way, just one spinning sphere, poised for glory.
How beautiful the black and moonless night, that lifts the curtain on comet and firefly alike.
When four were in bed, drowsy with marshmallows and midnight, I stole out, toothbrush in hand, across the silent campground.
Water and air held a great stillness, so that the stars reflected in the rising tide of the bay. Never have I seen the dark ocean so smooth.
Amazing how one wonder opens to another, and I want to follow those stars like stepping stones across the sea, up and into what the heavens are telling.
Instead, I give my eyes one last, long exposure, to print the night into the memory of my soul, and turn in toward the closeness of our family cocoon.
With so much light, how could I not be seen, even when so much else is yet invisible?
I planted my garden today. I’m actually a terrible gardener, and have always felt like a bit of a fake. Thankfully, plants are stubborn things, and resist even my ignorance and neglect.
Ivy (she’s four) was helping plant peas. She took her time to space them out in the shallow trench we had dug along the trellis fence. One pea at a time, out of the pink plastic cup she held in her hands. She thought we were done after we laid them in the dirt, still smiling up at the sun.
“We have to cover them up now.” I said.
“Why?” she asked, eyes wide. “Plants need sun!” This much she knows already.
“Plants need sun,” I said, “but seeds need dark.” I almost cried right there, smoothing the soil over the crooked row.
“Why?” A four year old’s curiosity is thirsty as a hot summer day.
I stop patting the ground and look up. The blue sky is silent. “Because life begins in the dark. I guess it needs to hide first.”
“Oh!” she says, and dances away, peas almost spilling out of that little pink cup. It is enough for her, at least for today.
In a tree overhead, an unseen robin breaks madly into song.