Cassiopeia

I became incredibly sad for a moment at work this afternoon. Shockingly so. Nearly a strange sort of panic, when I was reminded, oddly, of the constellation Cassiopeia.

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That word—Cassiopeia—the queen, has just so very much meaning attached to it for me. The lingering vision of a deep, mysterious beauty; the taste of cold, crisp air; the sound of the heavens, at once the loudest and quietest thing imaginable; the excitement of something so often left unseen; and emotion, so much emotion… longing… the latent realization of something that was perfect, too late. And in an instant, it all came flooding back in an overwhelming tide that kept on rising.

When we were young, my sister loved astronomy, everything about it. And she communicated her love, and shared it. We spent so many long nights out under the stars, looking through the telescope or just lying on quilts on the grass, taking in the heavens. Sometimes talking, sometimes unwilling to break the crisp, hallowed air with words, for hours. Winter was the best time for any real stargazing. The crisp, dry air lets them shine through in a way all the heaviness and humidity of summer stifles. It’s magic, when you feel it for the first time, when you start to hear them, all of them, singing through the clear, cold night. You think that stars are silent, and they are, but they’re not! Goodness, they’re not. They are so loud, deafening, when your heart is open, ringing out like the highest notes on a grand pipe organ, filling the sky to overflowing. They pull at things inside, deep inside, attach within the heart, and never properly let go. I realized that today. In a brief instant. At work. I had not before. Not like this.

But it wasn’t just that. In fact, that wasn’t even the biggest part. What hit me the most were those moments, those perfect moments—with my sister, under the stars, freezing cold in the winter nights, crisp, clear, gazing up at the heavens in wonder. And it struck me that those cold, clear nights were among the best moments of my life. And I’ll never experience them again. And that is almost too horrible.

There is a holiness, a mysticism to certain moments that can never be recreated. Something intangible filling those moments, making them more than what they were. I which I could say more, so much more, things that I don’t even know how to express, so many things. But I cannot.
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