Dreams in the Childhood’s Autumn Light
I still vividly remember the magical nights of my childhood, those nights when the stars rested from their circumpolar motion among the birch trees from the northern hill. Their ghostly glow, lights from an unknown city spread above us, covered the entire night sky. As soon as darkness fell, they drew me up like a magnet, and I could not take my eyes off them. Autumn was at the height of its transient glory, with the white-trunked forest near my home ablaze once again from dying yellow leaves. I longed to touch a star, even if only for a moment. I believed the flickering sparks above were living things, shaped like tiny spheres full of sharp spikes of light.
My grandfather, handsome like an ancient god, stood in the yard behind me with an enigmatic smile spread on his face. He smiled as if he had read my thoughts and waved at the starry canopy. I asked him to take my hand and help me reach the sky. And soon, in the cool of the night, we both set off towards the silent stars.
With springy, unicorn-like steps, Grandpa was splitting the dry grass. He was pulling me along the steep slope, higher and higher, each step closer to the sky. The fireflies generated even more confusion in the deepening darkness, looking themselves like stars lost in the grass. Around us, ghostly shadows of bats hunting for moths were skipping through the air filled with songs of crickets. With each step, my body grew lighter. When we got near the peak, I began floating, tethered to the ground only by the strong hand guiding me. And when I looked closer a moment later, I realized Grandpa was flying, too.
As soon as we reached the top, a vast plain of stars appeared in front of us. Thousands ay majestic and silent at our feet, of all sizes and colors. Soon we began to glide among them, bathing in their ethereal scales. The city in the sky now shone directly above in all its splendor. A sea of stars below, a sea of stars above. Floating between the two realms of light, I felt I was looking at a giant mirror reflecting itself.
“The stars will always be here, waiting for us,” Grandpa said. “Don’t forget that they are our closest friends. We are their descendants, for we were born from the dust of the primordial light that lit up this universe. We are all just stardust.”
Late, in the gray darkness of the autumn night, an old man, tall and imposing as an oak tree, was coming down the hill covered by birches and fireflies with a sleeping child in his arms. Leaning on his grandfather’s chest, the boy dreamed. He saw the sea of stars above, the sea of stars below. In his innocent sleep, an indelible smile crept across his face.
The lights of the house in the hollow were slowly approaching the two, like a pair of open arms, happy to greet their masters returning from their journey to heaven, the masters made of stardust.
text & artwork by Marian C. Ghilea