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Posted in Reflections with tags , , on November 16, 2009 by Verge

“And he was right. With a feeling of cold water rushing through his head and body, Hollis knew he was right. There were differences between memories and dreams. He had only dreams of things he had wanted to do, while Lespere had memories of things done and accomplished. And this knowledge began to pull Hollis apart, with a slow, quivering precision.” …

“He fell swiftly, like a bullet, like a pebble, like an iron weight, objective, objective all of the time now, not sad or happy or anything, but only wishing he could do a good thing now that everything was gone, a good thing for just himself to know about.

When I hit the atmosphere, I’ll burn like a meteor.

“I wonder,” he said, “if anyone’ll see me?”

The small boy on the country road looked up and screamed. “Look, Mom, look! A falling star!”

The blazing white star fell down the sky of dusk in Illinois. “Make a wish,” said his mother. “Make a wish.”

-Ray Bradbury, “Kaleidoscope”

Tonight, my wife of exactly 6 months and I stand in an open field not far from our house, whispering as I carefully unfold our two canvas chairs, hoping that we’ll be lucky enough to avoid the rolling-in clouds from Philadelphia and see a millisecond flash of green cut the black of emptiness, and exasperated, point in glee and whisper, “you see?”

Each year, for the rest of our lives, the newspapers or the internet or the popular media of the day will remind us that midway through November, if you look to the skies at just the right moment, under just the right conditions, you will see the leftover dust of comet junk that circled the sun 3 hundred or 4 hundred or 5 hundred years ago.  At the same time, I will remember the leftover memories that manage to leave a dusting of nostalgia, forever recalling the delicate teetering of fall and winter, half a year after marriage, dissolving into the night, hand in hand, with my wife in a field.

We both silently hope that we are not Hollis, not regretful that we’ve failed to live our dreams, if even just a sliver of them, a fleeting glimpse of fulfillment.  As we tumble towards our eventual end, hand in hand, we can always strive to be even just a flash of light in someone else’s life, inspiring optimism in the face of eventual demise.

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