Every floating rock knows:
You might be a meteor someday.
If you’re not a comet—already spiraling, turning to ash, leaving a trail behind you—then you know:
You could be a meteor.
You float around, simply stuck in the void of space. Unable to stop your trajectory. Unable to change things. Unable to take control. You live your life knowing:
You’re just floating in space.
Just floating by.
Control? That’s so far out of sight, it’s not even an illusion. If you’re a rock floating in space, you don’t kid around. Don’t pretend with yourself. You throw all that useless, make-belief trash out the window because you know.
You have no control.
One day, something might catch you. One day, you might feel that tug, that pull. One day, you might not be floating. You feel the gravity of it, and you have no choice in the matter. You’re no longer floating.
You might be falling.
And there’s nothing you can do about it, except to hope.
As you fall from the sky, begin turning into ash, begin building fire, don’t think about the end. Don’t close off your senses. Don’t be overwhelmed by the falling, by the fire. Don’t allow yourself to miss it.
Do you hear it?
Do you hear the last sound?
Do you hear that hopeful plea?
Do you hear?
Have you made a wish?
Never have I tried to fool myself.
What good does it do you? When you think of things as beings sunshine and starlight, you’re not doing yourself any favors. When you think of it as abysmal black holes and moon craters, still, you’re not doing yourself any favors. No, all that is useless. Pointless. I’ve never tried to fool myself, nor have I tried to drag myself down. Facts are facts:
I am a floating meteor-in-the-making, moving through space.
I have no control.
Space is vast, but it isn’t empty. There are things out here—asteroids, comets, stars—and, above all:
There are planets.
Planets with mass. With strength.
Drift close, and they’ll pull you in.
Take you down.
And, that’s just a reality. One day, I’ll float too close to something. One day, I’ll run into something and shatter, break. Or, I might drop into a black hole. Regardless, the fact remains that I won’t be in space forever. One day, something will stop me from floating on. From moving beyond. I don’t pretend the end is avoidable, it isn’t.
One day, something will stop me.
And I have no control over that.
Out of all the things that might happen to me—all the ends that I could meet—I think being a meteor is the best. The least terrifying.
Yeah, sure, burning through the atmosphere of some planet sounds like crap. Sounds horribly painful. Probably terrifying.
I’ve heard things about meteorites. About falling rocks. Things that burn through the sky.
On one particular planet, they look up and they don’t see a melting rock. Not at all.
I hear they call us…
They call us shooting stars.
As if I could ever burn that bright. As if I could ever bring that much light. As if I, a simple rock, could ever bring about so much hope. It’s silly, really.
If I become a shooting star…
I would bring them light.
I definitely would.
If only for a moment, I would.
Because as they fall—the people of that planet point at them. Point at us. When they see us, they feel that tingling in their bones. Feel the way planets align. They see those burning meteors, and they don’t think of us as rocks. Don’t see us as being control-less hunks floating in the expanse of space. When we fall through their sky, they aren’t terrified or dismissive.
They say that when we pass through their atmosphere—when we start to burn—they stop.
And they stare.
And they’re delighted.
They see us, and they stand still a moment.
As we burn, we are not so easily forgotten. We don’t drop into a void, or shatter against each other uselessly in the outer reaches of the galaxy. When we burn through their atmosphere, the people of that planet see us. Feel awestruck. Wonder fills them.
And they don’t just watch. They don’t let the hope fill them and keep it to themselves. Something happens within them—a knee-jerk reaction to those trickles of light that fill them. They don’t just see us burn away and do nothing in response. No.
They make a wish.
An internal shout to the heavens. To us—these useless, falling rocks. They look up and they think about what they want. Think about a blessing raining from the sky.
They look up at us and they don’t see a burning rock.
They see hope.
They make a wish.
Floating rocks are, generally, useless, you know. We don’t do much. Don’t get remembered. Don’t get recognized. We bring no light, we aren’t beautiful. We simply are.
Until we’re not.
And I hope that, when I no longer am, I don’t simply shatter. I don’t want to fall into a void, be forgotten. No.
I want to burn brightly—even if only for a moment. If only so I give to them what they gave to me.
A moment of ethereal beauty.
A moment to reflect.
To make a wish.
I won’t be able to do anything about the wishes I hear. Won’t be able to help in any way, shape, or form. Except in that:
I promise you that.
When I fall into your atmosphere—when I begin to burn and melt—I will hear your request. I’ll hear it loud and clear. Sincerest desire of your hearts—I will take them in. Add them to my fire. To my light. I will not ignore your request. I won’t block them out.
So, make your wish.
This old rock is listening.