Name the Stars in the Night Time

stars in the night time - Night Flowers - Painting by Larry ElledgeI take the dog out at night, on the nights Colin doesn’t.

If you own an animal, that’s it. You have to take care of them. Forever. Same with kids. They don’t go away. They are always going to need to eat, walk, pee, be stroked. Every night. All the nights. Until they or you die.

The result of these nightly jaunts is a thin slice of time, without distraction. Just me and the night sky, whatever the season.

I once read How to Fall Forever Into the Night Sky and that changed me. That, combined with watching Gravity which had its imperfections, but captured the terror of space pretty dang well.

Night time is tender, delicate, frayed. Go out into the night — any day — alone and look up. Stand still in the darkness and the quiet. Let the natural sound wash over you, whether the clattering of the sycamore branches in the wind, or the neighbor couple tittering over a cigarette on the obscured back porch.

Look up. Name the stars in the night. There is Alejandro, and Jane Doe, and Beatrice. That clump below Orion? That’s the Back Street Boys, before they broke up. There’s Liesel and Gretel and Rolf. That lonely one a-way over there? Whoopi.

Which will you remember tomorrow night? Who will remember you?

A forecast for rain and clouds and the dog won’t like it then, but that’s not now. Nothing is right now, just this emptiness. Try to push away the mind’s ever-scrolling to do list.

Jessie squats in her usual spot, and races back to the house. I follow. The night will be here when I return.

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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