Moments snap together like magnets, forging a chain of shackles. Why?

There’s a famous play, Equus, about a troubled boy with a blinding love of horses. The boy sees a psychiatrist named Martin Dysart, who tries to understand him by trying to understand his love. Dysart is confounded by it:

A child is born into a world of phenomena all equal in their power to enslave. It sniffs—it sucks—it strokes its eyes over the whole uncountable range. Suddenly one strikes. Why? Moments snap together like magnets, forging a chain of shackles. Why? I can trace them. I can even, with time, pull them apart again. But why at the start they were ever magnetized at all—just those particular moments of experience and no others—I don’t know. 

I can trace my love, too. Why stars instead of horses, or boys, or hockey? I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because the stars are the antithesis of darkness, of abusive stepfathers and imperiled little sisters. Stars are light. Stars are possibility. They are the places where science and magic meet, windows to worlds greater than my own. Stars gave me the hope that I might one day find the right answers.

But there’s more to my love than that. When I think of the stars I feel an almost physical pull. I don’t just want to look at them. I want to know them, every last one of them, a star for every grain of sand on Earth. I want to bask in the hundreds of millions of suns that shine in the thousands of billions of skies in our galaxy alone. Stars represent more than possibility to me; they are probability. On Earth the odds could seem stacked against me—but where you are changes everything. Each star was, and still is, another chance for me to find myself somewhere else. Somewhere new.

Sara Seager, The Smallest Lights in the Universe: A Memoir (Crown, August 18, 2020)


Notes:

Comments

  1. who knows why we are drawn to, and love things? it’s so interesting to consider and she has written about that pull so incredibly well here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stars are light. Stars are possibility. They are the places where science and magic meet, windows to worlds greater than my own. Stars gave me the hope that I might one day find the right answers.
    What a power in these words, but hope too, beauty, a twinkle of possibilities…. Love that approach – and the DRAW of ‘whatever speaks to you’ is so intense, you can’t handle it any other way than being drawn to ‘it’.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Her words are incredibly compelling, especially now when I find myself seeking escape from the conditions of the present moment literally every day. The upheaval, sadness and vitriol swirling in our world today make me yearn for an alternative, or as Seager says so eloquently , “…that chance to find myself somewhere else. Somewhere new.”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. WLS – her words brought me into the vortex of feelings that are desperate for relief. I too find solace in the limitless sky…there are two stars up there which are named after my mom and dad – and though I can’t find them, I look at all of these lights with an intimacy and comfort few other vistas can provide.

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  5. There aren’t that many but when a scientist is a dreamer at heart, and a poetic writer, wow!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    For me … it’s books!! I guess because they teach me and they take me to so many different places!! …
    “Stars represent more than possibility to me; they are probability. On Earth the odds could seem stacked against me – but where you are changes everything. Each star was, and still is, another chance for me to find myself somewhere else. Somewhere new.” – Sara Seager, The Smallest Lights in the Universe: A Memoir (Crown, August 18, 2020).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This has got me thinking. What do I have a blinding love for? Nothing. F*** Makes me feel like I’ve no purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I felt great relief when she moved to consider what she loves…away from her dark view, “Moments snap together like magnets, forging a chain of shackles.” The stars led to her life’s devotion and career. I’m reminded of “love of horses”–do you all know the story of Ulysees S. Grant? His love and expertise with horses led to his sanity and ability to become a very brave warrior–the only man Lincoln felt he could trust (even though he’d been fired because he was an incorrigible alcoholic). He almost got kicked out of West Point, a place he didn’t want to go to, because he spent most of his time with the horses! [his wife loved him; he was always anti-slavery; he wrote well–his memoirs, supported in this effort by Mark Twain.] Love of horses!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Her experiences of her abusive childhood seems to me, led her…Sara Seage has passion, curiosity and wants to escape, binding constrains… /// I imagine that when a person had an experience of being on a ship, alone in an interior room, the rooms with out a porthole, ill or in quarantine for a few week – what might it be like to emerge from that room in dark of night go above to another level where you open a small porthole exposing the vast night sky…one would certainly see the points of light, recognize majesty & hope and perhaps want to float away into wonder, free…/// I Hope She makes it to the Final Frontier…/// “Stars Represent more than possibility to me; they are probability” and then I think of this, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” – Philippians 2:14-15

    Liked by 1 person

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