So last night I was on my way home from my friend’s house and I noticed that after a fortnight of frankly terrifying wind and rain, the sky was so clear, I could make out what seemed like every star.
I used to star gaze every night when I lived in Arizona, but in England, it’s much harder. So this moment meant a lot to me, and I spent a long time in the cold, until my gloved hands were numb, just turning in slow circles and taking it all in. Every star glittered, and between the constellations, you could see a faint spray of white – the stars further in the distance.
I looked up a star map on my phone and found that the constellation that had grabbed my attention most was Perseus – which was amazing, because my son’s name is Percy. It was magnificent.
And I couldn’t help thinking: millennia ago, without street lights, people would have seen the sky so much more clearly than we can. They could see planets. It’s incredible that they could even make out constellations, amidst such a chaos of light.
So why DID nearly every culture around the world claim their ancestors had descended from the region of Sirius?
People like to laugh this off and say anyone who honestly believes we come from aliens is a fool – but I think even if it’s all nonsense, isn’t it still important to consider why a whole planet’s population thought up the same story? Where did the idea come from?
I must admit, looking up at the stars last night made me feel quite emotional. I cry at everything anyway, but there’s something about those moments when you remember where you really are in the universe that humbles you. It puts your life and all its petty complaints into perspective. We should all look up more often.
I think for my son’s next birthday, I may buy him a telescope…and use it myself.