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The Stars: A reminder to hold onto wonder.
Posted by Sylvan Sylph, Feb 25, 2008. 1737 views. ID = 665

The Stars

Posted by Sylvan Sylph, Feb 25, 2008. 1737 views. ID = 665
This post was written in 13 minutes.
I thought of this walking down the sidewalk one cold, clear night in college (almost exactly two years ago actually now that I look at the date.) I was staring at the stars wondering if I regretted not taking a class on astronomy when I realized that I enjoyed the stars as much, or perhaps more, without being able to classify and name them. I found I would rather think of them as distant shining beings, like they are described in The Chronicles of Narnia, than as the giant masses of gas which implode or explode taking solar systems with them. It occurred to me then that as wonderful as science is, in some ways, the knowledge it gives us does not necessarily enrich our lives when it destroys imagination and wonder.
This post has been awarded 43 stars by 11 readers.

I do not wish to name the stars, for without a name the mystery remains. With a name come ideas of familiarity and pretenses of understanding. Stars are fairy things. Things I cannot understand, that I do not want to understand. For with understanding the magic is lost; the awe and magnificence diminished. Familiarity breeds, if not contempt, then at least casual assumption. This I do not desire.

For why would I desire to lose wonder? Why should awe be a burden easily cast off? Our petty attempts at understanding leave us standing in the cold darkness; the beauty of the stars turned to giant gaseous formations soon to burn out, or perhaps already gone. Our knowledge will not regain the beauty we have lost. The darkness will consume us as we stand and name the the lights above us, speaking as if we know them and all that they are.

Our familiarity will be our undoing and our understanding will come to naught. In all our arrogance, our knowledge will not tell us that we have gone into the darkness because we could not wonder at the light.

Copyright 2008 Sylvan Sylph. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 43 stars by 11 readers.


Feb 26, 2008
My opinion: your prose is your best writing, and this is your very best piece yet. I've added it to the featured gallery. :)
   ~Posted by Douglas, Feb 26, 2008

Sylvan Sylph
Feb 26, 2008
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
   ~Posted by Sylvan Sylph, Feb 26, 2008

Feb 28, 2008
Wow. I really liked this. Some could argue that staying naive just for want of wonder is... well, naive. I don't think so, though. I took astronomy. I don't even think I've ever seen a star before. I've never lived anywhere but big city's. :) Anyways, I really liked this!
   ~Posted by Hannah, Feb 28, 2008

Invisible Joe
Apr 1, 2008
The beauty of learning is that old wonders are replaced by new ones. You may learn about the stars, but are then awed by quasars, black holes, and sunspots. You are even more impressed to learn that the light from thes stars has been travelling for millions or even billions of years to reach you (or God has miraculously allowed you to see stars that should be too far away.)

Hannah - I am truly sorry that you have never seen a star. I'm blessed to live in a place where i can see the milky way on any clear night.
   ~Posted by Invisible Joe, Apr 1, 2008

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