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Promises Of Peace From a Starry Sky Tapestry

Howard's End

Promises Of Peace From a Starry Sky Tapestry

By Maree Howard

"I could not give my name to aid the slaughter in this war, fought on both sides for grossly material ends, which did not justify the sacrifice of a single mother's son. Clearly I must continue to oppose it, and expose it, to all whom I could reach with voice or pen." so said Sylvia Panckurst writing in The Home Front. Maree Howard writes.

It was Oscar Wilde who said we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars, and so it must be one of the great tragedies of life that not enough of us take the time to look up at the stars.

It was 9.15 pm and together my husband and I stood gazing up into the black night sky filled with billions of stars. There was no moon and the Southern Cross blazed its glory across the night sky as it had done for millenia - an ancient sign for all those souls who may have been lost without a compass and were seeking South.

Away to the north-west the iron pot, or the big dipper as some call it, with its line of stars we call the three sisters signifying the celestial equator, was slowly sinking towards the horizon. These ancient celestial signposts were joined across the sky by billions of neighbours - and they all seemed to be getting on famously.

Now and then we would see a man-made satellite track slowly across the sky and you could almost imagine the stars and planets telling humanity to leave their domain. As if to emphasise the point the flash of a dying meteor would light up the night sky as it entered man's imperfect world and burn up in protest.

What caught our attention was a small star in the far distance to the right and below the iron pot which was behaving in a way that we had never seen before. It was twinkling brightly like in the nursery rhyme twinkle twinkle little star, but there was something more. It was almost as though of all the stars in the sky this one wanted to call attention to itself - saying to its neighbours look at me, I'm here, I exist, please pay attention.

It was a cold and very clear night and so it was easy to put it down to ice crystals high in the atmosphere causing the light to distort into a spectrum of colours. It was such a fascinating sight to behold that we both stood for what seemed to be just minutes but it turned out to be over an hour.

Suddenly, we remembered the binoculars. Bringing them into focus on the star I can now understand how people can so easily believe there are such things as UFO's.

This star was broadcasting colours over the whole range of the spectrum, but predominately it was flashing bright red, green, yellow and white in the pattern of a triangle. And then, almost as though the conductor of the greatest symphony orchestra in the world had raised his baton to bring in the other celestial instruments, thousands of other stars started to twinkle in unison with this one little star.

It was a fantastic sight to see nature perform in all its majesty. I knew there must be a great architect of the universe. Could this all just happen by accident?

As we stood gazing in wonderment at this free light-show, we could hear in the distance the soft rumble of the sea as the waves broke onto the black-sand shores of isolated West Coast beaches. Occasionally, the plainted cry of a morepork calling to its mate could be heard across the valley. Or the soft rustle of a bush animal foraging for food in the night.

These were signs of ancient stability and, in our small part of the world, it was a sign of peace - that all was well. If there is such a thing as the sound of silence, this was it.

There were no human sights or sounds, nothing which even suggested that another human was on this planet with us. These were the sounds of nature and we were both at peace.

Earlier in the day, I had received an email from a Scoop reader who said she was finding the "brutality of this obscene and illegitimate Iraq war so depresssing." And so, as we both returned inside to our warm bed, I'm glad I took the time to look at the stars - even though, as Oscar Wilde said, we might all be in the gutter.

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