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– Seeing stars

August 30, 2013

monkey and sofia blog seeing stars headermonkey and sofia blog seeing stars

Every month in Spain there is some sort of fiesta, some saint is celebrated, usually with late nights, music and drinking.  Sometimes the saint is big enough to warrant a day off work, great news for everyone.   In August it is the turn of San Lorenzo and his tears.   This is a really nice fiesta because even though he doesn’t warrant a day off, the way of celebrating is kind of quiet and reflective, quite a change after all the rowdy fiestas.  To see the tears of San Lorenzo aficionados have to identify a nice grassy slope in a rural spot away from light pollution and, for real comfort, people take a yoga or camping mat.  Then from midnight on they lie and look at the sky and before long they are rewarded by the sight of shooting stars, the tears of San Lorenzo.  Many people can spend until the early hours watching and enjoy quite a show.  The actual date of San Lorenzo is 10th of August, but I think that at this time of year there are more shooting stars than in other months.  I don’t know why this should be so, I wish I knew more about the sky and the stars but whenever I try to understand it I realise the limitations of my brain, try as I might information just doesn’t stick.  But I reckon there must be something about the coming of the autumn or some movement in the constellations at this time of year because the first shooting star I ever saw was actually in August, in Edinburgh.

One of the many wonderful things about living here is the clearness of the sky at night time.  The stars are incredible, there are so many that the sky is crowded and somehow the earth feels smaller and more just a part of the whole rather than being the biggest, most important part of the universe, as we think of it.

The effect darkness has on our place is impressive because it is such a contrast to the intensely bright light of day time, but the night sky changes the character of what we are coming to know during the day.  On nights of the full moon, the shadows are intense, going for a walk is possible unlike on dark nights with no moon when it’s impossible to see more than a yard.  The shadows cast by the moon make a whole new world, the texture of the shadows make it feel alive in a different way than we know.  What we see around us during the day and what we are hoping to become part of is suddenly dramatically increased by the sort of parallel world offered by the moonlight.  We are already overwhelmed by what we see during the day and now, San Lorenzo’s tears included, the sky and that’s up there, arch over us and help us understand that we are part of something much bigger than just our earth-bound selves.

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