Under the empty sky, I lay down my head and look up. My eyes scan left and right, up and down to try and find the thousands of twinkling bright stars I’m always promised in nature pictures. I find only a few stars—possibly the Big Dipper and the North Star. Everything else is shrouded in the darkness; an occasional airplane here, some flashing lights there.
Someone told me two years ago that the saddest thing about the modern world is our inability to see the starry night sky. Looking up in the polluted, fast-paced urban city, the presence of only the few brightest stars are visible. Unless you drive out into the desert, or the wilderness, or the place with no buildings or roads sprawled out with artificial lights can you be one the few to enjoy the full potential of the night.
As I continue to look up, I feel the cool breeze dance against my body, fluttering my dress and caressing my face. If I were living hundreds and hundreds of years ago, what would I have seen in the night sky? What mysteries and secrets that the night refuses to tell us were revealed then? The night sky only tells its stories to places in the world that haven’t been replaced by man’s replacement of stars—modern light.
But I remind myself that there is no going back in life. As much as I would like to create a time machine and see how the world used to be, I need to be realistic: there is only going forward with every moment of my existence. I probably will never see the Milky Way with the millions of stars that accompany it, but I know that it will never actually be gone. Our pollution will keep them hidden from the naked eye.
So as I lay with my head on the ground, looking up, I tell myself that although the sky looks vacant, it isn’t as empty as I think it is. The stars are there. They have to be. But perhaps the stars aren’t necessarily located in the sky—they’re located within me. The stars are my family, my friends, and people I have connections with. They’re my memories, my emotions, my literal being as I look up to the what’s above. The stars are pieces of my identity, scattered across everything I associate myself with.
And it’s my job to make my own constellations with what I’m given. The value and depth of my life can only be determined by me through what I’ve experienced throughout my life: every face, conversation, thought, behavior has contributed to who I am as a person. Making constellations are important to me because they tell me what I’ve learned from what I’ve been given—good or bad.
I may never be given the secrets that night sky holds, but I remind myself that I have my own set of stars to uncover.