Star Dome

Posted on Thursday, June 30th, 2011 in Stories

Near the edge of the earth in the low country of South Carolina on an island sculpted by wind and waves they found a special place. They went there at nightfall, after a day of listening to oysters sing from the tidal pools, watching clouds of wood storks dance through pink and orange skies, and running through groves where sorcerers dwelled amongst live oaks draped in moss.

They went there when the butterflies and dragonflies and black-skinned fox squirrels slumbered and the creatures of the shadows emerged. They went there when the still black lagoon waters reflected palmettos and magnolias and only fish stirred in watery chords twisting through marsh grass. They went there knowing they were far from the canopies of fouled city air.

As regular as the tides they were drawn to their special place like moths to candles. The ghosts of Indians, Spanish mariners, and African slaves watched them take their place inside a cathedral of pines that reached high into the night heavens like ship masts anchored to the rich soil.

They looked up as one into the dome of heaven. Starlight filled their eyes. The hazy arc of the Milky Way, star clusters, and constellations — each of them figments of the human imagination — bathed them in silver light.
They stood for an eternity beneath the pure light of the mysterious stars, which evolved out of cosmic gas — stars that guided ships and fueled the dreams of poets. There was no need to speak. Speech had no meaning. The choreography of the night sky said it all.

They returned home with a bouquet of feathers, a handful of seashells, some pine cones — all souvenirs of the time spent in the celestial glow. And with the passing of each year the fond memory of their star dome brought them the light of other days. Through dark times and death and the monotony and sorrow of the human condition, just the thought of those starry nights gave them comfort and peace.

With this new year may each of you find your own special place. May you stand in a star dome and be covered in light.