I've recently had a lot of time on my hands to do, well, nothing. Summer break and 2020's pandemic has made that my reality. And doing nothing has lead me to have a lot of realizations. One of those realizations is a deeper understanding of my own fascination and adoration of the day and night sky.
When you move continent to continent and/or country to country, A LOT of things change. Sometimes you move from one culture to a completely different one, or from a country that speaks one language to another country that speaks an entirely different one. You go from seeing the same faces and hearing the same voices, to not knowing anyone and not anyone knowing you. There are so many changes.
One of the single constants, regardless of where you move to or from, is the sky. It is always the same, even when everything else is so different.
Some of my earliest memories are of my family and I taking these two hour road trips between home (Udhailiyah) and the closest major city (Khobar) in Saudi Arabia. There was basically nothing in between except desert. The sky was typically clear with few clouds on our way there. We would typically start our return journey after dark, and I would see the most spectacular array of stars shining for me on the way back. Oh, and the moon seemed like it was always following us too, haha. It always brought me so much comfort. I never felt scared even though besides the moon and stars, and a couple of random cars here and there, it was pitch black on those deserted desert highways. It was the most comforting feeling. I felt like they were watching over me.
Fast forward to my first major move (i.e. cross continents), which was from Saudi Arabia to England. I really didn't expect the culture shock that was about to hit me like a boulder. I was 11, and very naive. Everything felt different. I felt so out of place. No one knew me and I didn't know anybody. I felt so alone... But what really surprised and comforted me was the sky. I have a clear memory of feeling very out of place in England, and feeling very comforted at the thought that the sky is exactly the same as the sky in Saudi Arabia. I mean, it's not like I thought the sky would be purple with green clouds or the moon would be florescent pink, haha, but that was one of the things that stayed constant. And that brought me so much comfort. I felt like even though no one there knew me, and I constantly had to redefine myself and prove myself to all these strangers, the moon knew me and the stars did too. They watched me grow up, after all.
Since then, I moved many more times. From England to Italy, Italy back to Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia to Jordan, Jordan back to England, England to the U.S., and then four cities (so far) in the U.S. Everything changed with every move. When I was younger, I moved with my parents and brother. As I got older, I moved by myself. And every move was lonelier than the last. The sky was really the single, only constant.
Fast forward to present day. The last few days of summer break in 2020's Covid-19 pandemic. I've felt extremely lonely this past summer. That's honestly not anything new for me - I always feel lonely because I am typically always alone. The difference is that, before, I always had the option to travel and see my family. Now, I really don't. Not with this pandemic. So I've been stuck, quarantining alone. And yet again, the one constant has been the beautiful sky which has brought me so much comfort day and night after day and night.
There are few things in life that bring me as much joy and comfort as the night sky does with her moon and her stars. And now, I think I know why.
If you want to read more about my fascination of the sky, the moon, the stars, space, astronomy as a whole, see below. And, lastly, thank you for taking the time to read this post. It means the world to me.