Stars have always been a comfort and a wonder to me. My house in Olathe has just enough light pollution that you can easily find constellations and satellites. My grandparents’ house has virtually no light pollution so it’s wonderful for spending summer nights viewing the Milky Way in all its splendor. At CSU we stayed up all night to lay in the snow looking for meteors and every time I went up to northern Alberta for fieldwork was a chance to see the Northern Lights.
But when I look up here the sky is different. The stars, like so many things in Madagascar are completely foreign to me. The lack of lights means there are so many I will never be able to pick out the new constellations. The culture and customs here mean that I don’t leave the house after night falls so I haven’t spent much time exploring my new sky. The countless stars remind me of my grandparents’, but I know they are different. Millions of different stars with a million different stories.
I knew that Madagascar would be different from anywhere I’ve ever lived before. I knew that turning 25 in a different hemisphere would be unlike pervious birthdays. I thought I might feel different. I thought I might have a transcendent moment or be plunged into an existential crisis, but my life is too surreal right now for moment or clarity or panic. I’ve yet to recognize any such turning point in my life as it happens, but there is a first time for everything. It’s possible I won’t come to accept what age I am until I’m done with my service as an ancient 28 year old. Or I still won’t At the moment I’m content to float along with each day and I’m sure I will come to accept this as my life without realizing it.
“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks” Tolkien