Friday, August 20, 2021

Friday Ramble - Consider

The annual Perseid meteor shower is in progress, and it is almost over, ending in a few days around August 23rd. I just have to write something about these late summer nights and the dazzling streams of comet debris that turn these pre-dawn August hours into the greatest show on earth. Until October and the Orionids that is.

Throwaway children of the Swift-Tuttle comet, the Perseids began in mid July and peaked last Friday, August 13th. The shower takes its name from Perseus, the constellation in the northern sky from which it appears to (but does not really) originate. Who knows, some of the particles that have been rocketing around up there in the last week or two may be kin to my own star stuff. Awesome doings for sure. Did I mention that "cosmic" is one of my favorite adjectives? 

Our wordy offering hails from around 1350 CE, tracing its origins through the Middle English word consideren and the Latin considerare, both meaning "in the company of the stars", thence the Latin sidus/sideris meaning a star or cluster of stars. At the beginning of it all is the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root form *sweid meaning to shine. Other English words like constellation and sidereal are kin, the first describing a group of stars, and the latter meaning simply "starry" and by extension, celestial or heavenly.

Small wonder that we are given to considering, at least in the original sense of the word. Spun from the dust of ancient stars, we are probably never more true to ourselves than when we are engaging in the liminal act of considering something.  In doing so, we move away from the mundane and profane and intuitively toward a bone deep and authentic connection with the dimension from which we emerged, and of which we are such miniscule elements. Dancing motes in the eye of the infinite are we.

Clear summer nights are perfect times for stargazing, and so are cold clear nights when one can almost reach up and touch the stars. On late summer and early autumn nights, the sky is often filled with clouds from here to there, and one can hardly see eye or lens, let alone the wonders above us. Who doesn't love a good haze or fog though, and weather on the cusp of the seasons dishes up some splendid, atmospheric murks. Even when we can't see them, our starry kin are right up there over our heads and shining down on us. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote: 

"We find lingering evidence of archetype in the images and symbols found in stories, literature, poetry, painting, and religion. It would appear that its glow, its voice, and its fragrance are meant to cause us to be raised up from contemplating the shit on our tails to occasionally traveling in the company of the stars."


Katrina said...

What a beautiful post. So pleased to have found your blog. Two reminders for me here: one, I must go outside and look for meteors, and two, I must re-read Women Who Run With the Wolves. Thank you on both counts!

Guy said...

Nice post

Helen and I just spent a week at Grasslands Park timing our visit to coincide with the meteor shower. The night sky there was incredible.

All the best.