Lesser Lights

digital illustration

The major stars are always more visible than those around them. It’s demonstrably true not only in the galaxies but in the more modest constellations of humanity. Our attentions are naturally drawn toward those who shine most impressively and dramatically—for good or ill; those more modestly gifted or less showy mostly find their own lights muddled or even eclipsed by the intensity nearby, and as a result we seldom spot and take note of them.

Even those of us who are not only accustomed to, but also aware of, being humbled and diminished by comparison to others’ flashier character can easily forget how this applies to others. Just because I might feel neglected doesn’t necessarily mean I notice others being equally shortchanged; indeed, it’s more likely that if I’m feeling under-appreciated I get too preoccupied with my longing to be Special and resentful navel-gazing to think that I’m probably in the majority rather than otherwise.

Still, there’s hope. Just as a supernova will someday burn to nothingness, human stars tend mostly to flash into the general notice, burn however brightly for however long, and be dimmed by eventual inattention or death. They, too, will eventually be outshone and/or replaced by other stars whose time has come.

And if I, or any other, should in the meantime feel unreasonably hidden from sight, we are still free to seek our own bit of gleam. For some folk, that seeking comes in ambitions for accomplishment and fame. For the rest of us, the surest way to kindle the blazing fire that gives off sufficient heat and light to be noted by anyone else is to turn our focus outward. Devoting energy, attention and love to causes and works outside of our petty selves, and especially to other persons, is the spark that, when kindled in their spirits, creates the steadiest, most lasting kind of light. Even the smallest and weakest among us shines brightly in this tiny act of selfless will.digital illustration

Aria

graphite drawingLa Chanteuse

This melody that lilts, lifts us to light

Like incense rising, or like hope aloft,

Like spring’s sweet perfume and like down-soft

New blooms, the lovely song eclipses night–

Brings sun and starlight and a shining flame

To paint the darkness into blazing day,

To chase all sorrow and all gloom away

Or give them luster as the marks of Fame–

The singing sinuous and smooth as glass,

As stillest water or a spotless sky,

And yet the singer never stops to sigh

Except when breathing lets a moment pass–

Because the music brings such passion, clear

Expressive, infinite and full of grace,

Poured out in rivulets and with a trace

Of magic only those with love can hear–

One aria can change the flow of time

And raise us all from simple to sublimegraphite drawing