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Above my head, skirting the cosmic veil,
a comet trails a path in the clear star-lit sky
and dusts the Earth in its wake.
I have always loved and I have always marvelled
at the sight of these glowing and solo travellers
that pass through our solar system,
and so close to Earth that they can be seen with the naked-eye
from the ground, from time to time, on a clear and unclouded night.
I have always been fascinated by what gives a comet its remarkable tail.
I have always dreamed about
what it would be like to be on the surface of a comet
as it passed by Earth, to see our testament oasis
to the infinite possibilities of choice and life,
and to gaze-out in wonder as the comet atomised and fragmented
and floated to Earth like winter snowflakes.

A photograph of the night-sky can never truly capture its beauty;
a camera can see into the depths of space,
but it can only return with an after-image-
a photocopy, a poor-mans facsimile, and representation
about what is truly out there:
colours that we don’t yet have a name for,
forces that dictate the reason for everything
that we don’t yet understand and perhaps never will,
life existing in forms we are incapable of envisioning
because we are not yet ready to see them.
We look longingly at pictures of nebulae, new planets,
moons, shooting-stars, and comets,
because they remind us of ourselves,
and they fore-shadow what we will one day find in the universe:
another and another and another example of complicated
and constantly evolving life-
the evidence of which will come of no surprise
to those who have for centuries believed, looked, read, and listened.

For thousands of years,
humanity has been in the perfect vantage-point
of the astro-auditorium to witness epic changes,
and to ask questions about what they are seeing
and about how the mere witnessing of something that is galactic
and out of our control will fuel the need of someone
to keep watching and finding new pieces to the vast
multi-levelled universal puzzle.
As is customary, to answer multi-faceted questions
you need to employ multi-faceted means of investigation, discovery,
and definition, until one day one layer of the picture
starts to take-shape in a way that could not have been planned,
that is the only way of making sense of what is right in front of you,
that is genuinely new and unthought of before- something like:
what if our universe is not the only universe out there in existence,
and maybe in the grand-scheme of things,
as seen in an infinite image of everything,
our universe is nothing but a puddle.

There is nothing more magical than sitting in a well-lit theatre,
staring at a blank movie-screen,
when suddenly the lights go down around you,
the film-projector turns on and the screen comes alive
with images of advertisements, film-trailers, and movie-teasers,
before getting to the main-event, before the spectacle of magic
that you have paid the price of a ticket to see,
is projected before you- so that you may immerse yourself in it
and come away from it with something that you didn’t arrive with;
just like how you feel when you see the ancient cave-paintings
of our ancestors in the early dwellings and places of importance
that have been discovered in parts of Africa and Australia.
For our entire existence, humanity has looked, learned,
and will continue to look and learn, and record,
and pass-on their discoveries to a new generation
for them to interpret in their own way-
in the same way, that when we look at cave paintings
we see art, our lineage, our humble beginnings;
perhaps our descendants will one day look at all life, as-one,
in the same way that we now watch a film in a cinema.

The sun is going down in the west,
and yet new light dawns in the wake of the setting of the sun-
light that has been veiled to the naked eye by the blue-sky
appears on the horizon,
as astronomers decipher the message of the constant sky at night,
that will one day launch humanity on its never-ending quest.

Looking up at the stars, from the ground, with a telescope,
on Earth, or in orbit, looking out of a window,
you quickly become aware that what you are seeing
is not everything that there is-
what you are seeing is the last image of a changing universe,
and the stars that you see above are echoes in its after-glow.

When we look up at the stars,
we are witnessing the history and the evolution of all life, everywhere;
when I look up at the beautiful dark night sky,
I feel invigorated by what I cannot see-
just the thought of what could be out there, what we know is out there,
magnifies my vision through the lens of my imagination,
and compels me more with every stare.

We, humanity, are an ensemble of watchers, listeners,
readers, and astronomers,
who are all searching for something,
so that we may make sense of the perfection disguised as chaos
that is our universe-
for most, the most amazing discovery of life
is that everything that has every been created, beyond our understanding,
is greater and more complicated to completely revolve around us.

I like to think of us all as snowflakes created in a cloud
that slowly fall to Earth and are carried on the wind,
before finally settling on a snow-covered floor;
and as we descend, at times,
some of us look up to where we have come from,
and some of us look down to where we were seeded,
before eventually restarting the cycle all over again-
each time progressing our understanding of each-other
and quenching our desire to learn more,
which is a testament to our teachers:
those who inspire us to look inward and project outward;
those who encourage us to keep looking up,
even though they are no longer with us, who will always inspire us,
like the late, great, astronomer,
Sir Patrick Moore.

Dedicated to Sir Patrick Moore, 1923-2012

A seemingly unremarkable man of average height,
stands alone in the street,
slowly being turned into a living snowman,
as the snow falls and covers him in a coat of white.
Strangers trudge through the near foot-deep snow,
slowly passing him by without even a blink of an eye;
children have snowball fights around him,
while the snow-covered man just stands there in his place
looking up at the sky.
The stars cannot be seen,
a grey cloak of clouds has obscured them;
but the mysterious man’s eyes make up for the lack of constellations,
as they shine in the moonlight like never before,
and like they will continue to shine again and again.
He knows a thousand magic tricks,
but on this snowy night the only thing that this magician knows
is that, in the now silent, cold, beautiful, open-air,
the magic of the world is present in every snowflake when it snows.

In a blink of an eye, the magician is now 9 years old-
standing in the snow of a glorious white night,
holding a book of magic tricks in his gloved hands,
and wearing a scarf that reaches down to his ankles,
to protect him from the cold.

As the magician closes his eyes,
he imagines above his head that the clouds have disappeared
and that the light of the galaxy can now be reflected on the snow floor-
to his knowledge he has yet to learn the spell that can control the weather,
but he is willing to give the thought that he can his all.

When the magician opens his eyes,
the frozen moon above his head seems to glow much brighter,
and appears to have grown larger, whiter,
as if it almost fills the sky-
a sky that was once filled with falling snow, and bereft of stars,
is now still, perfect, and beautiful,
the magician could almost cry.
Stars sparkle like fixed snow flakes in the clear night-sky,
all is white, all is peaceful, as the winter wind continues to blow.
A billion wonderful things happened today,
and one person feels and knows that more than most-
a man who sometimes thinks of himself as a ghost,
but who is right now, and forever,
a magician in the snow.

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