Whenever I look at the stars, which is generally when I’m on summer holiday in Croatia, I feel connected to the millennia of humans who looked at those same stars. The diamond-studded night time summer sky, arching over the dark sea, the only place that I can actually see the stars, brings me back to my childhood in New Mexico. There, at the time, the stars were so bright that they actually illuminated the landscape. They seemed close enough to touch. I would send my thoughts and dreams out into the universe while looking at those stars. I would trace the constellations that I knew, the Big and Little Dipper, Orion’s Belt, the blue star, the red star.
When I was very young, whenever my family would go to the drive-in cinema, sometimes I would look up at the star-filled sky from my seat in the car. The night time in that area of New Mexico has its own scent, the chill that sets in to replace the roasting heat of the day.
The stars pick out the outlines of the rocks, fences, the mesquite and sagebrush. It glides over the mountains and turns everything into an enchanted place. Their light silvered my skin and made me feel both part of the universe and a grain of sand in it.
The stars where I now live are covered by all the surrounding electric lights, they are pale shades of those fat, shining diamonds of my childhood. I cannot pick out the constellations, the star patterns are confused and faded. I long to see those friendly stars again, to marvel, to dream and to lose myself in them.