Looking Up At Night by Shayla Maddox

I remember standing in the backyard with my Grandpa trying to figure out which cluster of tiny lights in the sky was The Big Dipper. We had a star map, a very small telescope, and a lot of wonder. As a child, I thought I might be an astronomer one day. When I realized I disliked math, I became an artist.

I won’t pretend to have made it through the maze in your mind
I hit dead-ends with you
Walked in circles around you
But I saw the corner with cobwebs on the road less traveled and understood that there was no exit.
Just an entrance.
—  Mapping the Stars | Aman Thind

Northern and Southern Celestial Map, 1795.

Historical map of the sky of the northern and southern hemisphere, showing the stars and mythological drawings of the constellations. This map is centred on the geographic north and south pole, with the plane of the ecliptic (arching through lower and upper centre) showing the constellations of the northern and southern zodiac. The zodiac shows the Sun’s passage through the sky throughout the year, and does not align to the geographic equator because the Earth is tilted on its axis. The relative brightness of the stars is shown, as well as the Milky Way. 

Move on, leave, run away, escape this place… but don’t forget about me, about us, about this town. Always remember where you come from so you can appreciate how far you’ve come.
—  c.j.n.

I realized why the idea of constellations has always swayed me. constellations are so very human.

our wonder of the stars is bone-sunk; we’ve been thinking and dreaming and watching and watching and watching since the beginning of time, and we looked for so long that we started making connections. 

we played a celestial game of connect-the-dots; trying to find order in something so vast and trying to show that the stars are in everything and everything is in the stars.

we plucked pictures out of the infinite; there’s a dog, there’s a bear, there’s a lion, see? look, right there; the stars hold and mirror back everything. 

but then it went a step further. instead of everyday things, we stopped picking out the cups and the bears, and instead we saw stories. 

look, there’s Andromeda, chained to a rock and waiting to be devoured by Cetus. there’s Orion, and Hercules, and do you see Orpheus’ lyre? Zeus sent an eagle to retrieve it after Orpheus’ death and he placed it in the sky. 

we did the most human thing imaginable: we wrote our stories into the stars. we filled the night sky; previously so vast, so unknowable; with our history. we forged connections to the stars and made it so our children will always know where they come from. 

You claim to love her, inside and out, but the only time you call her beautiful is when it’s 3 in the morning and I’ve already turned you down.
—  girls tell each other everything, c.j.n.