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Today we conclude our early autumn theme of “Finding Meaning” with Debra Doggett’s essay, “As seen from the sky”.
I stayed home from work today. The need for a mental health break didn’t come as a surprise but the courage to do it did. All week I’ve been weepy, moping around everything and everyone with unshed tears threatening to pour. Placing the call this morning was my acknowledgement that my system is in dangerous overload.
Though I didn’t understand it at first, my emotional roller coaster held a lesson within itself. For the last two years it has been my quest to develop my awareness of the world that exists around me, to understand the beauty and symmetry of life on a planet that spins through the Universe yet holds me close to its heart. Still I never gave the natural world a thought in all my wonderings about why my emotions were on a bender. Becoming aware of the connection between the inner and the outer self has been my focus and I have sought it in all that I study yet the simple act of connecting my emotions to the world around me got lost in the feelings I couldn’t understand. I looked for answers instead in events and people, in trials and tribulations and found nothing in the way of explanation.
At the end of a quiet, healing day, I remembered there was a meteor shower tonight, one that I’d been told could be seen quite well in my area between dusk and dawn. It was way past dusk but not yet dawn so I went out and looked up. A bit disappointed, I saw a somewhat clear sky with the usual tower and street lights blinking in the dark but little else. No great heavenly show or awe-inspiring vision, nothing on the grand scale my imagination conjured up.
I started to give up and go back inside to mope again but from the corner of my eye I caught a flash, a brief glimpse of light that was gone before I’d really seen it. Stepping back out from the porch, I stared hard at the night canvas. They were winks that came and went fast but they were there. Tiny bursts of light played chase with my eyes, sparkling and gone in a blink.
Hidden beneath the night stretched out above me was the Universe. Hidden beneath my tears and lost feelings was the web that held me earthbound. Does a display of movement millions of miles away cause my heart to cry? Maybe. And maybe it’s just the view of home that pulls at me. Perhaps one of those pieces speeding through the Universe used to be me, or at least a part of me. I have been told I am made of the stars, of the particles and dust of the vast, unending mural of planets, moons and celestial beings. Do I miss the journey through the expanse of space now that I am earthbound? Do I miss seeing the endless sky and the darkened glow of the Universe or is it simply that I feel my own smallness, weeping the tears of a child with the memories of birth still remnant in my mind?
I am tiny, a speck of atoms and muscle on an insignificant globe, living, eating, breathing and one day dying all in a space of time that takes up a nanosecond of eternity. And yet I am light, I am stardust and the journey of those celestial beings pulls at me, urging me to step onto a path of discovery that will one day show me my true ethereal essence as it leaves the physical realm far behind.
This has to do with aging and becoming more aware of how fragile our physical bodies are. But what’s inside has become so much stronger than it was when I was twenty or even thirty. I know most women especially dread turning fifty but I found it to be very liberating in terms of finding who I truly am, what truly exists within a rather fading physical shell. It’s about understanding the ability to transcend physical restraints and still be who you are inside, who you are meant to be.
Debra Doggett: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Being a writer is more than something I do. It is the way I see the world, the way I process it. I believe in the power of stories. They make us smile, make us think and give us untold moments of enjoyment. My stories come from the landscape around me and the worlds I build in my head. I am proud to be a storyteller, and I hope my work leaves you both satisfied and entertained.
Next Sunday, we begin our late autumn them, “Death and Life”, with Ken Apple: “Ghost story”.