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Carol Preisler: Stargazing leads to deep thoughts

“When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”


I love that quote. Tilting your head back and laughing at the sky sounds joyful. I’ve actually done that more than a few times while searching for the big dipper in my yard. Typically I laugh at myself, because it eludes me in winter.

Last fall, I searched stellar maps and studied earth rotation but the complete dippers failed to show up. Princess Frog magnet holds diagrams to the back garage door. My husband noticed them but, being a good guy, refrained from commenting.

Winter nights are often cloudy, but I could see some stars. Standing outside shivering, I’d have to shield my eyes from the motion light I inevitably turned on. The dogs stared at me with their quizzical head tilt, wondering how long this was going to take. Then, out of the blue, as the clouds began to clear, the dippers showed up. I noted my body position. If I looked straight up, with the air conditioning unit at my right hip, there they were. What a gift to finally see my old galactic friends again. I plan to say hello every night and take in their wonder.

The dippers look spectacular on summer nights at my son’s place. He has fewer skyward obstructions in his yard. I remind him to gaze at them often. My hope is that he will recall our joy for a long time.

Are stars similar to life? We can be close to people, see them clearly and then suddenly they are out of sight. We long to see them, but something changes and with the passage of time, we miss them. What happens?

I’ve lamented the loss of family and friends. Not those who have left this world, but those who have left my life. Sometimes we choose to “lose” people for various reasons. I might understand someone wanting to lose me. I can be annoying, though not intentionally.

Feeling discarded is really dreadful. Thank goodness for those who remain true. Even when months pass, they are always there.

Some of my best friends have traveled to the other side. I miss them terribly. Perhaps they are the stars I really long to see.

We can’t always fix things. Life is not a movie, after all. Some folks get hung up on that whole happy ending thing. I have a problem with that.

I am, however, an optimist at heart. I can have a conversation with someone I previously disliked, because the bull is gone. I have shared a meal with my ex-husband because our torment ended long ago. I think it makes our children smile.

Everyone who comes our way becomes part of the basket we choose to weave. Things change and we can’t hold everyone in our hands at the same time. Even though we may have hurt someone, or let him go, that is part of the living and learning process.

At times I find myself mulling over an event that I perhaps could have handled differently. Reflection often reveals that I did the best that I could at the time. Age usually provides clarity, and if you are lucky, can be forgiving.

If you believe you are someone’s vanishing star, rest assured you have often crossed his or her mind. What we hold in our hearts cannot always be expressed. However, it can help to laughingly tilt your head back, and realize life is only sometimes perfect.