I've just been drinking my cuppa out in the back garden gazing up at the stars, wondering if this will be the last time I see them this way up for a while. Trying to creep as far down the garden as I could without setting off either of the next door neighbours movement sensitive spotlights I could just manage to pick out Cassiopeia, the saucepan (ok, then the plough/big dipper, haven't you read Swallows and Amazons?) and Orion through the light pollution haze of Edinburgh. Some southern hemisphere stars will remain familiar if not their orientation (altho' I was told Orion isn't standing on his head as I reckoned, he's breakdancing...) and I find the Southern Cross a lot easier to locate than the Pole Star! I love stargazing, but there never seem to be quite enough (warm!) clear nights for me to ever get beyond knowing about half a dozen constellations. Somehow they never quite look the same in a book as they do in the sky, I need someone saying 'see that one there, no, up a bit and to the left, then go right and there's another two in a line...' etc.
Stargazing always brings back many memories of people and places. Time and again I remember watching the stars towards the end of the Quaker Youth Pilgrimage when I was 17 and Karin saying how now matter how far apart we'd be when we went home we'd still all be looking up at the same stars, it used to make the mile long walk up the farm road home from 6th form college far more comforting on the dark winter evenings.
At Summer Gathering last year (NYFSG – a Quaker teenagers event) Robin talked about how basically we are all made of stars (cue the Moby track as we entered the next mornings worship!) and the miracle of creation being that we and, everything around us, is made up of so few basic elements, with such tiny differences in our genetic makeup and atomic structure. Pretty mind boggling and impressive when you think about it.
I found my horoscope that Jo did for me a few days ago when packing – reading it through it seemed so contradictory in places that a sceptic would make mincemeat of it, yet if you take my life as a whole rather than just where I am now you can see the different eras represented; the stay at home, nest building, seeking comfort in permanent surroundings me of 10 years or so ago, and the globe trotting, no ties, following where the wind blows me me of the last couple of years. I like to think that the future holds something somewhere in between the two - hmmm, how about settling down in Aotearoa New Zealand with trips back to the UK every couple of years visiting various friends and family in between on the way... it has a certain appeal it must be said =) However that would require a work visa, a paying job, residency etc so no point counting chickens before the eggs have even been laid!