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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
The Observer

Look up

I’ve seen six shooting stars since coming to college. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and most importantly, looking up at the sky.

As a child my mother would ask me what I saw in the clouds. I would daydream staring at the sky above me watching for creatures and castles to float past. I would see faces and features and battles and wars. My imagination resided with them.

On summer nights we would hop in my father’s car and chase the darkness, trying our best to let as many stars as we could break through that blanket of city light that had tricked them into lessening their shine. The best view was out of the sunroof, rolled down, the cool night air zipping through my hair and chilling my skin. My cheeks were always rosy and my nose raw, but my eyes wide and my heart content. I never understood why my brother begged for a telescope every year for his birthday, but each year I grow older I see what he saw and what he continues to see. That there is so much of the world, so much space, so much life, undiscovered, to be seen, to be discovered. I often stop in the middle of the street, steps behind my friends, to capture pictures of the moon and stars, no matter where I am. I send them off to my friends who live far away, to let them know I still think about them when looking at the moon, like we had together before, Punisher loud on the speakers, and summer warmth surrounding. I can recall the drive from one parent's house to another, at the drop off, between hugs and see you laters, I would stare at Orion, whose belt and arrow shone brightly back at me.

I became known as someone who looked at the sky. I had my head in the clouds and heart on my sleeve.

We wrote poetry my senior year of high school. My teacher would let us go outside, absorb our surroundings and find ways we could talk about them, feel about them, write about them. I remember not being able to write much, but just lying flat on my back and staring at the sun. It would leave me blinded walking back into the school at the end of the period but it was worth the connection I felt I had with the sun. Almost as if I had known its warmth for my whole life. I admire Sally Ride, the third woman ever to go to space. As a young girl I would sit and wonder what she felt, being that far away from home. If she ever got scared. If she looked down at earth the same way I looked up at the sky. I decided to believe she was braver than I, but that someday I would become as brave as she proved to be. The sky is what has always connected me. When I look at the moon today, it is the same moon I looked at as a child all those years ago. The same moon my brothers see and my mother and my father and all those who told me and taught me where my mind and heart belonged. On paper, and most importantly in the sky. You can contact Cora at chaddad01@saintmarys.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.