I Am Stardust

“Physicists say we are made of stardust. Intergalactic debris and far-flung atoms, shards of carbon nanomatter, rounded up by gravity to circle the sun. As atoms pass through an eternal revolving door of possible form, energy and mass dance in fluid relationship.

We are stardust, we are man, we are thought. We are story.” – Glenda Burgess


I am a vagabond. Gypsy. Nomad. Hobo. Whatever you wish to call me. I want to tell you who I really am. People think there is no place I call home. Instead every place I have been to is home. I can find harmony in discord and hope in despair. I know homesickness like no other. I’m certain homesickness doesn’t hit anyone harder than it hits me. The uniqueness of each place I’ve been to, stays with me long after. I recall with remarkable clarity how one land differs from the other. Hereon, I share with you, one moment which stands out from the rest. This is my happiest moment in life, the closest I have come to unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos. Peace and contentment envelop me when I think of this.

Late at night, I sit outside the tents, keeping guard of the caravan. It is my turn to play sentinel dutifully while the others are asleep. For most people, it seems like a dull job but I come alive, deep in the night, underneath the dark sky. As I sit barefoot, I can feel every tiny grain of the cool sand on my skin. Who will ever believe it is the same sand that causes discomfort during a dust storm? At night, even the deviants lie low.

The moonlight is bright beyond belief. It illumines everything in its wake with an ethereal glow. Full moon nights are a vision. The moon is up there in all its glory. Once a month, it assumes its full form, as if calling out to us to delve deeper and decode its countless secrets. It makes the night seem longer. Much longer. Black and white is a paradoxical combination. When contrasting elements co-exist, it’s a sight to behold. Looking at the depressions on the moon is joyful. It suddenly seems much closer to the earth. Almost as if it is beckoning me to extend my hand, flex my fingers, touch its glossy surface and partake in the euphoria of feeling the magic of its intangible beauty.

With only the sky and cool sand for company, it is not a dreadful prospect. Far from it. I lie on my back, my head cushioned by the sand and gaze at the depths of the sky. Star gazing is oddly humbling and majestic. In comparison to billions of stars, light years away, I feel oddly small. Like a speck on the endless wall of black. As a vagabond, I will never do anything worth being documented. Inevitably, I shall fade into oblivion. My footprints on sand during the day fade by the evening. Such is the transience of my existence. However, as a part of a species which can fully appreciate the beauty of the macrocosm without fully understanding its workings, I feel grand.

I am stardust. My left hand is a remnant of one star while cosmic dust from another star, maybe billions of light years away from the first one, makes up my right hand. For a second at least, when I was created, I held the key to the treasure trove of the universe. I am not megalomaniac but for a fleeting moment, I felt like one of the privileged few children of the sky. The mighty sky.

Nowhere as hot as the stars, swift as the comets or volatile as the quasars, the moon is the most tranquil of all the celestial objects out tonight. Affixed in the wide expanse of nothingness, its slow descent becomes apparent as dawn approaches. It gradually moves, as if making way for a more supreme being. The dark blue fades into a lighter blue and second by second, the scorching fireball makes its ascent. This time of the day is wondrous. When an end is a new beginning. When the end and the beginning are wrapped so closely around each other that it is difficult to tell them apart.

The flap of a tent opens and the spell is broken, only until it begins again when night falls. This endless cycle of night and day is what sustains my life. Everyone’s life. For this, all I can do is be thankful. Thankful for the never-ending wonder that the cosmos is.


Note: All content copyright of Priya Dua


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