There is something truly fascinating about the stars. To look up on a dark and clear night, staring at the unending expanse of blackness, you’re shown just how small you are. But the gentle flickers give you hope and remind you that you’re not alone.
My admiration of the stars began at a young age. As a child, I would imagine what it would be like to hold one in my hand, inspired by the last scene from the film Stardust, where Victoria opened up a napkin and threw grey and glittery dust onto the ground. I was in awe of the sparkling appearance and kept that childlike aspiration to touch that sparkly thing for many years.
While I know now that I can’t actually get that close to the celestial bodies without my hand slipping through the gas or melting off my body, I found solace in the simple hobby of stargazing.
I grew up in a hillside village that overlooks Birmingham. If I had an argument with my parents, I would storm outside and lie on the grass, open eyes stinging with tears which became immediately calmed and entranced by what lay above me. Many nights, I would gaze from my bedroom window and watch the constellations forming above the trees. After passing my driving test, anytime I felt sad, I would get in my car, drive up to the top of the hill, and park. There would be a ‘Space’ themed playlist on the go and I would stare out across the bright spots of the city below. While the light pollution of the big city made the cosmos above it look cloudy, if you looked out the other windows above the fields, the stars would twinkle. It was one of the best parts of a rural childhood home and helped grow my fascination with the stars.
Moving to university and battling the inner city lights, it became more difficult to keep up this hobby. Instead, the stars would be replicated with small lights across the bedroom wall, reminiscent of many others’ uni rooms. While my time stargazing has depleted rapidly, the love and fascination with the stars have not. Any song that comes on and mentions the stars – any film, any conversations – and I am immediately whisked back to the grass of my parent’s garden, and I can feel the chills from the late-night wind. I close my eyes and am on top of a huge hill with someone pointing out the North Star, the Big Dipper, Orion’s Belt. There’s something comforting about knowing that they’re always there, just above your head. Things on earth change so rapidly, but a clear night sky looks almost exactly the same as it did fifteen years ago. Within a second and with only one glance, you are transported through time into space.
Stargazing for me is less of a hobby and more a worthy distraction. For even a short while, you are transported to the stars, floating amongst nothing and everything, with only the twinkling lights for company.