#0038: Of All The Stars In Heaven
Updated: Jul 14, 2020
It's another cold night in the glen.
I’m sat in the garden, wrapped in blankets, my gloved hands closed tightly around a mug of coffee.
Darkness surrounds me, my eyes not yet adjusted to the gloom.
It’s early evening, but the thermometer has already dropped to minus eight, and the frost, which lingered all throughout the day, is growing heavier with every passing moment.
A thick blanket of ice covers every surface.
It smothers the ground.
Encrusts the branches.
The thinnest sliver of a crescent moon hangs in the sky. What little light it gives sparkles around me.
The burn is at a low trickle, ice forming at its edges. Frozen fingers claw their way up low hanging plants, breaking free of the river bed.
The air shimmers with ice crystals, my breath dancing into the dark in a plume of iridescent magic.
When I was young, clear nights would be spent in the back garden with my dad, gazing up at the stars. We’d always start by finding the Plough which, tonight, looms large and low over the cottage.
As I shift my gaze to Polaris, the North Star, my peripheral vision slowly fills with countless points of light as my eyes grow accustomed to the dark. These are my favourite stars. The shy ones. Try to focus on them and they disappear. Look away and back they come.
Quickly now, more and more reveal themselves.
Rigel, one of the brightest points in the night sky, blazes at the knee of Orion.
The Seven Sisters fade in and out of view, in a game of celestial hide and seek.
And then, as my pupils continue to dilate, it comes into view. Feint at first, but slowly becoming bright enough to throw the tree covered hilltops into silhouette. Hundreds of billions of stars, so distant and so many that they can't be distinguished from one another, forming a hazy band of silver smoke curling majestically overhead.
The Milky Way.
The night sky above me, the crystalline air around me, and the frozen earth beneath me all twinkle in unison.
I hold my mug a little tighter, and I smile.
It's five years this November since he died.
Some days I don't think of him at all. Other days I think of little else.
And that's okay.
Because as long as I have the stars, I’ll always have my dad.