To the Stars
It was a windy night in those parts of the land due north. In an isolated house in the middle of the vast, green fields of tall grasses sat a young Irish boy by his open window as he listened in on the mysterious night sounds outside his home. The slightly cool breeze emanated a hollow whisper as it rushed past the window that he sat by, bending and swaying the trees adorning the landscape along with it.
He, with his shadow cast upon the floor from the dim light of the kerosene lamp, looked out the window at the brilliantly glimmering stars that dotted the clear night sky. The boy had always appreciated the quite time alone he got at night whenever everybody else within a mile’s radius was asleep and there were no chores or the loud banter of old men bickering away in local Irish to disrupt his train of thoughts. During the night, he was his own unique person, unmarred by and the world that bubbled to life inside his head was another parallel universe altogether.
His thoughts drifted from the trees scattered all over the landscape towards the beautiful tapestry of stars embroidered to the endless fabric of the night-time sky. And then again, he wondered about the enormity of the universe in its entirety and how we were all just small specks of dust compared to it.
Will I ever be able to discover for myself what lies beyond those stars? He thought sadly.
Unlike many of his elders, he could not just settle for the less for he could not believe that life was solely about getting up in morning at the strike of dawn, going through the day and being back in our unmade beds again by nightfall. This monotonous approach towards life never appealed to him. He had always wanted to witness a miracle, to witness the larger truth that synchronized with the working of the cosmos…the truth that might set his caged soul free. It was in those moments that he truly did feel alive, with adrenaline pumping through his veins and being intensely aware of every detail, of every sharp, distinct sound that was carried towards him with the wind in the vicinity outside his bustling mental world; when both the realms surrounding him worked harmoniously inside-out.
The lamp by his worn-out bed flickering with its last dying breaths captured his attention suddenly and brought him back from his far-away thoughts and with a jerk, he realized, inclined his conscious to the extreme – to this side of the weight balancing both the realms. Sighing inwardly, he looked to the low-lying mountains just visible behind the coniferous tree-tops and settled for admiring their dark silhouettes against the starry sky, which only magnified their brilliance by tenfold. His gaze lingered on them for a prolonged minute when, out of the blue, he saw something he never thought he would. Unable to believe what malfunctioning workings of his mind might conjure up something quite like that, stupefied and shocked to his core, the lad quickly scrambled to his feet and hurriedly rushed past the exit and was immediately enveloped by the deafening silence outside the fields surrounding his humble abode.
A voice in the back of his mind kept repeating the same question – could this be?
Squinting in the dark, he tried to get a hold of his surroundings in his blinded daze. But the adrenaline circulating through his blood had amplified ten times and it made him acutely aware of every minute detail.
Again he looked for the same mountain he had seen earlier…but it was unnecessary.
The brilliant puff of cloud slowly climbing up the mountain-peak in undulating waves was unmistakable. It was frozen in time and space, much like his humbled self.
Tonight, I at last glimpsed a small piece of cosmos through my own eyes.
The robust man in his early twenties with an erect posture, graceful gait and a commanding aura that he held onto around him now struggled to push on his feet forward as the elevation increased with each passing hour, with his back hunched over under gravity and his feet treading precariously around pointed rocks and deformation on the rugged surface of the mountain. Despite the chill in the weather way up here as it had seemed, beads of perspiration dotted his forehead and his face was flushed – both from the chill of the atmosphere and the exertion against nature’s laws to ascend him upwards. Though the mountain was still blanketed with a layer of wild grass, little hints of white blotches here and there were beginning to speck the mountain’s hood of olive-green. The atmosphere was thick with the cold and a slight mist enveloped him as he continued his tread along the treacherous path
“I am almost there…” whispered the young man, out of breath.
Having been harboring an ardent desire to see for him what the magnificent sky felt like when he would be a part of it – fused together as one – he had come here tonight in hopes of bringing that unborn dream to life. When his feet would finally leave the ground and the wind would carry him as if he weighed nothing, effortlessly spreading his figurative wings…when he would fly.
And so when he finally reached the peak of the mountain, he was not prepared for the overwhelming outburst of emotions that enveloped a man literally climbing a mountain. It was a feeling that completely enveloped his being and provided solace to his worn bones. Upon his final step, he sat down and waited there for a while, catching his breath and gathering his thoughts for what was yet to come ahead.
He sat there, taking in the vast landscape that stretched all around the mountain that was majestic when looked at from a summit; he silently thanked his gods for giving him the strength to accomplish his journey until here tonight. When his eyes had adjusted to the dark and he could make out shapes in the distance with remarkable accuracy, he glimpsed a small dot of light in the distance – one that was flickering to the sides, with the gentle wind as he would guess – and slowly, the form of an object vaguely resembling a small house came into view.
Someone else enjoys the enchanting nighttime like me, it seems.
But little did he know of how right he was, for the boy residing in that lonesome house was very much like him on so many levels that he would not dare imagine. Getting up on his feet then and dusting off his clothes, he prepared himself for the final step that would truly bring his long and tiresome journey to an end.
With a deep and calming breath, he pushed himself to the edge of the rocky peak. And with one last look towards heavens, he made the final leap. With faith burning inside his core and magic surrounding him, he closed his eyes and let the inevitable events take its course – accelerated by gravity and catalyzed into motion by magic. The two components combined together enabled him to take his first flight.
With a bounding leap, he jumped.
Though just before the young man jumped, and before he was carried away with the winds, he saw something he was left bewildered by. He shrugged it off as nothing, concentrating on giving his final leap as much momentum as he could.
Just before he closed his eyes, the last image that lingered on his closed eyelids were that of a figure moving just in front of the small house in the field…a figure oddly resembling a human being.
And in his wake he left behind a comparatively tiny mimicry of a supernova explosion, one that burned bright, freezing space and matter in an ever-stretching time warp, but dazzling nonetheless…a conjuring of magic that was perceived by the same young Irish boy far away in the fields, standing bewildered, as a huge puff of cloud rising up with a blinding brilliance…
…and slowly fading into the night.