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Bright Treasures in the Darkest of Nights

Essay By: Penelope Garenther
Editorial and opinion

I had to write an essay for a workshop I was taking at the university....
tell me what you think of it!

Submitted:Jul 26, 2009    Reads: 95    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

Stars; they are the treasures of the night, but they are dangerous. A dangerous beauty. That's how I saw them when I was a young teen, but when I was younger they were just pretty twinkling dots up above my head. My views of stars changed over the years, as I grew older and older. Now at the age of 15 I still see stars as that dangerous beauty, but now I know all they are is made up of large amounts of helium, hydrogen, carbon, and iron but it varies from the size of the star. When I was ten years old and was told stars weren't made up hopes and dreams I was utterly crushed. It just takes out all the mystery and magic out of these incredible things, but still every night when the house is at rest and all is well I'd sneak out to the back yard or to the small parking lot next to my house and I'd lay out on the rough rocks or the smooth cement and look up. All the lights would be off and I lived far enough out that the lights of the living, breathing city wouldn't disturb the soft illumination of the stars. Oh, how I wish to be that girl in that Irish folktale by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey. The girl in the story went on a small quest to fulfill her heart's desire to touch a real star. She asked the mill and the brook to tell her where to reach the stars, but neither of them was of much help at all. It left her discouraged until she met the Little Folk dressed in silver and gold, who showed her the way. They told her "If you're really determined, you must go forward. Keep going forward, and mind you take the right road. Ask Four Feet to carry you to No Feet At All, and then tell No Feet At All to carry you to the Stairs Without Steps, and if you climb that…" and she knew the end to the sentence and sped off to find Four Feet who happened to be a horse and she was taken to No Feet At All who was in fact a very large fish who took her to the Stairs Without Steps and that was a road that was made from a rainbow. A rainbow that led up to the heavens, she climbed up the slippery rainbow road until she reached the tip-top where the stars shone the brightest and there she was, flabbergasted by the amazing sight. She lost her footing and slid down to earth falling asleep with a little bit of star dust in the palm of her hand.
Accumulating over many years of life I've learned stars have been told in stories, since the first days of man and they too were awed by these amazing creations that sat in the sky twinkling away. In Australia, the Aborigines believe that shooting stars are lost souls. The gypsies believed that when they see a shooting star it's a thief escaping and if they call it out or wish upon it, the robber will be struck with misfortune and be caught. The ancient Mayan civilization believed that our galaxy, the Milky Way, was a crystal road for souls to tread upon as it leads them to Xilbaba (the Mayan Underworld). In Greek mythology, Zeus put heroes' faces up in the sky so people would always remember how they'd be rewarded if they do a great deed and to strike fear into evil hearts. Many cultures look for stars to guide them when to crop: in the Incan culture, they worshipped and made sacrifices to the Incan god, Viracocha, the god of creation. The Incan civilization depended on Viracocha to send them messages through the stars, to tell them what time is the best to plant and to harvest their crops.
Myths and facts about stars tend to crowd my mind whenever I stared up at them, but it wasn't a frantic crowding of thoughts, it was just of wonderment and the wanting to know more. I'd spend hours just laying there looking up and occasionally hitting a creepy crawler away from me. After long hours of thinking, and wishing on occasional shooting star, I'd walk inside with a last remaining thought and it always ended with a legend. So far the one I was told most recently was how the stars were made. There's a tribe in Africa who believe that in the beginning of time when there was no stars, that the sky was known as The Darkness and every creature knew there was a light hidden behind The Darkness. Every type of creature you could imagine tried to release that light, but they all failed. Until a small humming bird flew up thinking he had a chance; he poked holes big and small into The Darkness and through them light spewed forth. It wasn't a huge bright light, but it was just enough to light up the sky and to be admired by everything that looked up at it. With one last thought of stars I laid my head down to rest and to dream of the empty void known as space and the stars that occupy it.


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