Looking at the heavens on this deep, dark night is just what the Doctor ordered. Thousands and thousands of stars slowly, very slowly, cartwheel across the sky. Like many people I am fascinated with a starry night. It is a primordial feeling. It takes me back to the beginning of time.
A wedge of geese, that I can hear but cannot see, honk wildly as they fly from northwest to southeast. They sing to the night sky, using the stars for navigation. But they also sing of the excitement of the long journey. They sing of the comradery of traveling with friends, relatives, and lovers. They sing the joys of life. And they sing….just because.
I am supposed to be sleeping right now. My wife sleeps in our bed. I stepped outside to sit on the second story deck attached to our bedroom. I am content. Sometimes it is OK to be wide awake late in the night. I know that the sandman will help me back to sleep soon enough.
A shooting star races across a short section of the southern sky. I try to remember that little poem, something about “first star I’ve seen tonight”, and after realizing I will need my wife’s assistance to complete the poem verse I decide to make a wish. What to wish for? World peace? A good idea but way to generic. There is very little possibility it will come true. Let’s see, how about a guardian angel for each member of my family. No, I pray for that everyday. Hmmm, perhaps I could wish for permanent inner peace? That sounds good, except I know I would be bored with living like that in less than two days. Come on, there must be something good and unique that I could wish for! How about something about Thanksgiving, that’s coming up soon?
My mind wanders with that thought. I picture guys with Pilgrim hats. So what is the deal with those weird caps with the buckle on the front? What is the buckle for, tightening up the hat in case your head gets smaller? I mean who needs a buckle on their hat? Then I think about how the Native Americans were pretty stupid to help the Pilgrims through the first winter. I’ll bet that goes down as one of the biggest blunders in Wampanoag history. I mean a few years later these guy’s kids were handing out blankets infected with small pox and telling them to go home and get a good night’s rest. Geez!
Then I think about turkeys. I start wondering about how I always see dozens of them when I’m hunting for deer, and then when I’m hunting for turkeys I end up stumbling on dozing white tails. Just why is that?
Okay, okay, this Thanksgiving wish isn’t working out to well. I’d better come up with a new topic and it better be good. Let’s see, how about a wish relating to my upcoming vacation? No, I might jinx myself. The last time I wished for something for myself I was just a little kid. I had my eye on a really nice sweater made out of wool. My sister said it would be itchy. I wasn’t really sure if that was a bad thing so I wished for something itchy. I thought if I was indirect with the wish master I might get what I wanted. The next week I came down with a monster case of poison ivy that landed me in the hospital. No, wishing for something for me is definitely not the way to go.
Okay, here’s an idea, how about if I wish for something like a nice visit with my sister when she comes at Christmas? Boy, that’s a little risky. I promised to take her out looking for winter moose, and I don’t want the wish to back fire and get her lost in the woods. She’s been living in the city for years and years, and I don’t think she would appreciate a subzero night wandering around the woods at night with me muttering “I just knew I shouldn’t have made that wish!” No, I’d better skip that one.
How about the dogs? What could go wrong with a wish for my bloodhounds? I could wish that they stop howling every time I come in the door, whether it be from an extended outing or back from getting another arm load of wood for the woodstove. Or I could wish that they would learn to speak English given they don’t seem to understand the commands I give them. I think I’d better come up with another plan. The hounds wouldn’t necessarily appreciate my wish for them anyhow.
I’m sleepy, I look at my watch and it is 4:30 AM. OK, enough of this. The sandman has found a way to get me ready for another hour’s rest.
I crawl back into bed.
“What time is it?” my wife asks.
“It’s about 4:30, still time to get some shut eye.” I reply.
“How long have you been awake?” she asks.
“For just a few minutes,” I say knowing it’s a justifiable fib.
“I saw a shooting star,” I continue hoping to make up for my momentary lack of truth.
My wife then recites the poem.
“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight”
“I was wondering how that verse went, “I respond, smiling to myself at her recital, “Now, I need to get some sleep”.
And then as my sleepy eyes begin to close I remember the wish, perhaps a little late given the time that has passed. Without hesitation I wish for my wife and I to grow old together, loving each other with each starry night that comes our way. And with that I fall into a deep, peaceful sleep.
Written for www.wildramblings.com in November of 2009.