30-June-1993. To prepare the day, She walked out into the evening through Her Pineapple Fields, a large bowl under Her arm and, reaching in and casting out, She threw the stars by handfuls into the violet dome of twilight sky.
Her labors were for me: She had sown in Her skies a greeting only for me, I imagined, and I had been late for it, not arriving until well after dark almost past the witching time.
Being late for your own beginning is not the best first impression to make, but then again when you’re on your way Home, you’re in time-running-backwards and you set your own double-naughts on that clock and the last grains to run out of the sandglass will fall onto Ocean Beach only when you are there at the surf’s lip to release them yourself.
Having arrived far too near to the double-naughts on the Pacific Daylight’s clock to my liking—sixteen and a half hours after I put my hands on ten-and-two-o’clock and started my third and final day of driving with no AC and only Wyoming’s, Nevada’s and California’s Central Valley radio stations for company—even the calendar was nigh on hitting its own witching time to roll itself into July.
I did arrive, of course.
And the Sky! And Stars! Our Dome of Sky, a cosmic bowl turned upside down and lit from everywhere and nowhere. The Stars freshly sown that still seem to tempt us all to climb the hills, some tiny part of each of us fancying that once at the top, if we just reeeeeeach up high enough….
And that perfect gem would be ours to—to what? I still believe that no one of us would ever keep a Star thus captured. It would be enough (enough! Was there ever a more inadequate concept?) to have touched the Star! the Sky! for even that Moment. We wouldn’t even tell the story to anyone, but not for lack of believability: You San Franciscans out there would never dismiss such a story entirely, if at all.
In eighteen years, I still see the look in my fellow denizens’ eyes that they have stories, too. Stories, and Stories. Like this. And like nothing you’ve ever heard before. And all of them are true.
Because they happened Here. And Here is nowhere else on Earth.
So yes, back up that Star would go, arm casting out, throwing it into that impossible violet, impossible dome of sky, to let it find its own place among its Sisters.
As we all have done in our twinkling, shining City.
So many nights since then I’ve looked up, and out, and within, and seen the same twinkling, shining magic. So many perfect nights, too, like that long ago perfect night—well, almost perfect: The Moon, ever willful, would end up requiring a few more days for perfect fullness. So San Francisco, earthbound, has her limits after all—just don’t tell her that.
Eighteen years now and I still haven’t told her. Who would believe a story like that?