Several mornings ago, I was out before dawn. It was a clear morning, and the “nearly-full” moon lit up in the sky like a streetlight, the rest of the expanse still a blue-black, with just a few stars visible (at least to my damaged, aging eyes).
A moment later, I saw something I hadn’t seen in I don’t know how long. It was a shooting star. Immediately, my mind wandered, thinking back to when I was a kid. Back then, it seemed like we saw them with much more frequency.
I remember seeing them from our front porch on a quiet summer night, or as we played basketball or kick the can before heading in after a long day of playing. Much like anything you don’t see very often, it was always cool when we spotted one. Thing is, if you were the only one in your group to see it, by the time you told your friends or family, it was too late. It had already “burned out.”
SPOILER ALERT: A shooting star is not a star, but you probably already knew that. It’s a small (by space dimensions anyway) piece of rock or dust that hits Earth's atmosphere from space. It moves so fast that it heats up and glows as it moves through the atmosphere. For purposes of this discussion and to avoid confusing anyone, I will continue to refer to what I saw as a “shooting star.”
I also remember folks telling me to make a wish whenever I saw one, something I never did as a kid. I didn’t really believe in wishes. Maybe I was born with an “old soul,” or maybe I just got an early start on being a curmudgeon; I just didn’t see the point. Nonetheless, shooting stars were cool and a big deal for this small-town kid and those around me whenever we saw one.
The other morning was no different. Although I was alone at the time, I’m pretty sure I verbalized my reaction to myself, and to anyone starting their cars or putting out the garbage at that moment. It was nothing creative or wise, probably “Wow!” or “Cool!” or “Holy s**t!” And this shooting star seemed to stay “lit” much longer than I remember; more like one you’d see in a movie.
SIDE NOTE: I often talk to myself while I walk, unaware that others may be in the vicinity, and easily within earshot of whatever I’m mumbling about. Sometimes I wonder if they wonder about me.
As I continued my walk, I thought more about that shooting star and about wishes, and then I thought, “What the hell?” and, defying my history as a “wish denier,” I made one.
Now, if you’re a wish maker, or at least a believer in wishes, you know that if you want your wish to come true, you can’t tell anyone. Fact is, that’s the only rule I’m aware of when it comes to wishes, unless it’s a birthday wish. (I was always told that the only way a birthday wish comes true is if the birthday boy/girl doesn’t talk while eating his/her birthday cake. Now that I think about it, that might have just been my sister pranking me to get me to shut up for three minutes. Still, to this day, even though I don’t make birthday wishes, I do NOT, under any circumstances, speak while I eat my birthday cake.)
So, while I can’t tell you this wish, I will tell you it wasn’t wasted on an upcoming sporting event, hoping spring would arrive six weeks early, finding a random bag of money, the ability to travel through time, etc. Instead, I made a wish on behalf of all of us, one that if it comes true, could help the world on several levels. Again, still not a believer in random wishes, but “What the hell?”
I mean, we’ve seen a lot of weird stuff lately, so why not throw something into the universe and see if it listens? Why not ask? What does it cost? Who does it hurt?
And, What if …?
What if wishes are a thing, and all these years, I’ve been missing the proverbial boat? And what if someone, somewhere, with the authority and motivation to grant wishes, hears mine and says, “OK, I see his point. He makes a solid argument. Let’s go ahead and stamp this one ‘APPROVED’.”
What if? I’ll tell you what if. If my wish is granted (and yes, it was a big ask because again, “What the hell” right?), things will get better: for you, for me, for our friends and families, and for this entire shooting star on which we live, work and play. Do I have the power to make this wish happen? Of course not, so if it comes true, I’m taking no credit, except for the fact that I was in the right place at the right time and decided to ask.
Does this mean my soul got younger, or that I’m less of a curmudgeon than when I was a kid? Maybe. Or maybe I’m just that desperate for change that has me looking for four-leaf clovers, mutely eating birthday cake or wishing on shooting stars (which, as we have established, aren’t stars at all).
No matter. I did it because it seemed like the thing to do at the time. And who knows? What if? So, what the hell?
© 2022 David R. Haznaw