Memoir of a Star

Sergey Nivens/

Lyra was a noble star descended from a long line of other stars: Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Andromeda. Together they reigned in peace and prosperity, each of equal stature, strength, and rank, presiding over an expanse of space and time that blazed with their celestial light. But in the midst of such perfection, Lyra grew bored and, restless for adventure, decided to leave her kin and stake out a corner of the cosmos for herself.

And so, after saying goodbye to her family and home for the last time, the star set out, crossing the threshold of her ancestors’ domain into empty space.

She thought the darkness beyond her realm both novel and unique, and, for a while, Lyra was entranced. Here was an endless mystery waiting to be uncovered by her otherworldly light. But as time progressed and her sojourn continued, the darkness started to oppress her. It pushed back, jealous of her light, and with time she began to dim.

After eons of aimless traveling, Lyra stopped and, surrounded by the void of empty space, thought better of her quest. Only then, on the verge of returning home, did she look back and realize she’d lost her way.

Despair set in. She could already feel the relentless cold reaching into her core, gumming up the forces that kept her alive. Numb and frightened, Lyra cried.

Her tears fountained in the endless dark, shimmering like stars in miniature. Soon her sobs and heavy breathing slowed, and she watched, fascinated, as her tears first pooled, then condensed, pulled together by the fundamental force of gravity. Nine distinct bodies emerged from Lyra’s despair: nine worlds, each with their own unique needs and desires. They huddled about her in the darkness, afraid, and she offered them her light, rekindled by the fire of a blossoming love so intense that she was never to feel the cold of empty space again.

Lyra loved each of her children in different ways, but Earth was special, for this was the daughter who’d seen fit to bear children of her own. Life erupted from Earth’s fertile soil and swept over oceans and forests, mountains and plains. Some took to the skies, others to the water. Some marched across Earth’s rugged terrain on two legs, others on four. Lyra beheld their various forms and loved each and every one.

First children, then grandchildren. Her new family was nothing like the stars she’d left behind, and Lyra was pleased.

If only my ancestors could see how happy I am now.

Lyra had set out in search of herself, and in so doing had almost lost herself. Now she had a family of her own. Her place in the cosmos was set and she would never feel restless again.

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