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"The stars we are given. The constellations we make. That is to say, stars exist in the cosmos, but constellations are the imaginary lines we draw between them, the readings we give the sky, the stories we tell." - Rebecca Solnit

In California, I saw the stars clearly only once, while lying on a raised platform in the middle of a meadow in Yosemite, as bats flew overhead. No longer obscured by light pollution, the stars startled, an immediate revelation. I knew, at last, why the stars had names from different peoples in different times. These names made sense of them, of their position in our lives, ever above our heads in the fathomless depths. After moving to the Burren, we saw them all the time, except on full moon nights, usually whilst cycling along a dark, winding road in the shadow of limestone hills, as lone seabirds cried offshore. The co-ordinates for my head and heart had changed by then, as they would later, but the stars never shifted, with their ancient names and the names I made up for them, constellations to guide the memory of my time.


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