Music of Decline

Light pollution. Like, I don’t want to denigrate or minimize the urgency and depth of pollution, but how poetic is ‘light pollution’? What fathomless, pure beauty does the night sky hold that we might call light itself a contamination?

A few days ago, I marveled at the night sky, so perfectly and unexpectedly visible as I headed out to work. The moon was a gibbous sun and the stars, though I know not what they are, twinkled their level best. Across the water, Tacoma’s dim glow besmirched the otherwise spotless sky and it looked every bit like a pool of luminous smog.

The other day, Facebook reminded me of a fabulous Brian Andreas quotation (if you’ve never heard of him or seen his art, correct that) which I find just very lovely. He says, “We lay there and looked up at the night sky and she told me about stars called blue squares and red swirls and I told her I’d never heard of them. Of course not, she said, the really important stuff they never tell you. You have to imagine it on your own.”

As deeply as I despise the development of what should be a small fishing hamlet, I do appreciate a few things about this town. For one, the stars. Though our sky is often veiled, if one happens to be outside when it’s dark and clear, the stars are a lovely jeweled crown in the heavens. Certainly we are not in the unpopulated Nevada desert or what have you, but we do alright in the star department. As much as I am loathe to admit it, something in Gig Harbor calls me to stay and look at the stars while they may yet be seen.

It is easy for me to say that I do not like fall colors because I do not identify with autumn at all, as a season. I am much more an end-of-summer and depth-of-winter kind of person. Which is to say, August and December. This means, unfortunately, that much of this season’s beauty is often lost on me. However, even I must on occasion admit that autumnal scenes can stir my heart much the same as any other’s. Driving across the Spit in the pearly, pre-dawn light drowning in fog, ardent arboreal flames burning on the edge on visibility, the water a still, grey mirror of the still, grey sky.

This is where I find myself now. In a season (though I hate it vehemently, if irrationally, when people talk about life having seasons) in which I am not comfortable largely because I never thought of myself as an autumn person. And somehow managing to find beauty nonetheless and completely contrary to my best efforts.

I do not wish for complacency but I do wish for contentment. If November comes before December, so be it. And if the star-studded sky is often veiled, I can find solace even then because I know, like Samwise Gamgee, that there is something up there that no darkness can ever touch.

Happy November, friends.


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