[Fireworks over Coney Island, 2013]
Last week after my neighbors turned off their lights, I lay on my backyard hammock hoping to see shooting stars. Light pollution, clouds, and an inconveniently placed maple tree meant my total score after several nights’ watching was exactly one meteorite, a singular sight I will always treasure.
Despite that disappointingly tiny total, those quiet and alone and held hours were’t in vain though; oh, no. Staring at Mystery? Never a waste of time. And then there was that whole Hammock Thing and being gently rocked, soothed, an effective sleep therapy I’d love to somehow duplicate in the depths of winter. (How is a lower-case mystery.)
One night ‘round midnight a neighbor disturbed the quiet to practice his/her sax; “Misty,”mostly. (He/she had a little trouble with that ballad’s endearing jog, right at the beginning, that wider-than-usual span between the “at” and the “me.”) My first, crazy reaction? “”Be quiet! You’ll scare away the meteors!”
But that’s The Thing about being alone in a hammock in the (relative) dark to contemplate the heavens. You get to deconstruct your craziness. (In space no one can hear you say stupid stuff.) And here’s where I got to: Although a Quaker and therefor all about silence, my sensibility is mostly about living in a peopled —and beloved—city and, apparently, eternally braced against noise.
Ah, but to let my earth-bound sensibility move up, away, out; to let myself embrace the silence of the spheres; what a trip!