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Sarah Lipton

Sarah Lipton

Waiting for a Pinprick of Starlight


Photo by Joshua Hibbert on Unsplash

Dipping my toe into a rare moment of reflection…this poetic musing arose in my heart. May it be of benefit...

The sliver of the moon hovers heavily over my shoulder. Haze on Vermont’s horizon, catching sun as it falls redly, dripping a cascade of hues, triggers the awareness of jet streams and global wind. My sky kissed by the very ash of trees who already only live in memory three thousand miles away.

Questions quake within me…how can I learn to become a more perfect ally? How do you hold the frog on the bow without gripping it and create a more resonant sound? How do you balance the parallel tension of attraction and repellence?

Without space for reflection, I become brittle when faced with the swirl of questions.

I know enough to stop and look. Looking deep deeply deeper deepeningly at the redly reddening maple leaves littering the lawn. Looking out at the bluish sky, I look, and look, waiting for a pinprick of starlight to shatter the illusion.

“I love you,” my small child tells me, delightedly. This shatters the illusion just as effectively, and the brittle exterior crumbles like dust, scattering in the ancient breeze. The ashes of my tears mix with the charred flakes of mourned trees, swirling with the blood of too many felled by covid and unwarranted strangulation.

My own pulse cannot help but mirror the lacking pulse of so many. The privilege of this reverie does not escape my notice, either.

Constantly second-guessing my very thoughts. It’s a wonder I can actually get up and attend to all I must each and every day.

Since when did awareness become such a heavy burden? Since when did I feel so utterly, devastatingly alone.

Since always, I know is the truest answer.

The waterfalls I traipsed over mountains to listen to always confirmed these truths. Our handprints melting in the snow…

The self-as-lighthouse metaphor still holds true, I guess. Only, I do not feel that I am, as yet, shining. I feel, rather, that I am very much embedded in the crafting of the stones with which the tower shall be built, someday. I grasp chisel and hammer to hack away at the edges of the rough stones, working slowly, not quite patiently, but definitely persistently to shape each stone. Noting where the curves must lie so the tower’s shape may end up roundish, I taste the stone dust, reminiscent of my mother’s ashes blowing into our faces atop Avery Peak in the Bigelows, that rainy day.

I know death. It’s true. I have essentially studied it for all of my forty years. Heartbreak, too. And that pinnacle edge of pain that comes close to bliss. And none of this makes me a master.

See, when I slow down enough, I know my own mind. That tiresome awareness becomes, again, my pal. Teasing me with that cheek I long to caress, that heart I ache to hear, that scent I hunger for.

I return again to the rough tips of my own fingers, ripped apart by the frozen dirt of my frosted garden, roughened by the hours of pot-scrubbing, vegetable cutting, cello playing, and child-minding. They still know how to return to the familiar, delicious journey of the writing game. And so, they satisfy.

So much has shifted in the last year. So much burden has burbled to the surface. So much vision birthed and aborted. The entire world has ended, and in some ways it’s about dang time.

The sun now rises and sets through reddish gauze. The apocalypse has arrived. And now the questions are: do we have the capacity to navigate this with our minds intact? Will awareness be our guiding light to any other side of this? Will we be able to follow the convoluted twists and turns of fate as it weaves pretzels around us?

I will not deign to answer, but I am so, so vividly curious. Are you?

Seriously, are you curious? If so, please share with me. I think it's only together that we can discern the next steps for our world. I'm barely online anymore, but you can find me here: