The forgotten stars

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The white-hot metal sizzled through the sky

Landing at the roots of the sacred tree, it crackled

Echoes of the starsteel rang through the forest

None would dare to investigate

None save for a small squirrel

It’s fur the silver of the metal as it cooled,

The little creature scurried close, watching as the heat cooled

“You have fallen far out of the sky, precious star. Would you like help getting back to the sky?”

The starsteel was quiet, reflecting upon the little creature’s word.

How would you be able to help me reach those heights? I have fallen far, and I fear no power on this planet could return me to my home

The silver squirrel pondered this, nodding slowly.

“That is true. None of my trees extend so far into the sky as to return you from where you have fallen…”

Before the fallen star could respond, the woodland creature carefully picked it up and put it in the small pack they carried for just these sorts of happenings

“…however, I can return you into a bit of sky. It may not be so high, nor quite the same. But I guarantee that it is lovely all the same. And you will not be alone.”

The star was quiet, and admittedly a bit annoyed that this lesser creature would believe something so foolish.

It was confined to this planet’s ground and could only stretch into the sky as far as a tree’s branch would allow.

There was surely no way that it could place the star in a place with any beauty like that it had lost

-=-=-=-

“Shh…I hear a newcomer!”

“Our friend has found another fallen one!”

Echos of voices filled the trees as the squirrel began to slow its pace.

The star within its pack shifted, confused as it tried to place the tones that echoed familiarity, as if from a distant dream

As the squirrel opened it’s pack and brought the star back out into nature, it also pulled forth a spool of thread

The thread was of the purest silver, and appeared woven out of cobwebs and spider silk

Eärendil…Shar…Yvaine…does my hearing deceive me?

The squirrel smiled to itself as it quietly began to form a net to securely hold the precious, newly fallen star

“Your hearing does not deceive you, friend. We are those who have fallen before you.”

But you were said to be forever lost! How is it that you are all here now?

The sound of crystal chimes filled the small grove surrounding a large, ancient willow tree as the star’s former companions let out their musical, lighthearted laughter

“Perhaps in days long ago we would have truly been forever lost. However, each of us were found, much like you have been, by this small woodland friend.”

“When they first found me, they were shocked and surprised. They didn’t even have the pack they do now. They simply knew that leaving me to be folded amongst the earth would be a tragedy. I did not understand how it could be so. Surely those of us who fall deserve such a fate. But this one would not allow such an end to my story.”

As the squirrel silently wove a secure net, the stars, held aloft in the sky by net swings hung from the massive oak’s branches, spoke of how the squirrel began to hang each from the branches of the precious willow, who had also long ago felt as though its purpose had been lost.

With each fallen star, the squirrel had been gentle, and thought only about returning them to their kind in the only way it could.

Though it was not the same, as more fallen stars were found, and added to the willow’s branches, both the tree and the stars began to find a new purpose and sense of belonging.

Now, as the squirrel lifted the newcomer up in its own net swing, the newly-fallen star saw the the branches of the willow now appeared to hang toward the ground in long curtains of leaves and flowers.

As the star began to adjust to it’s lower point in the sky, it began to hear the quiet crying of the thousands of rediscovered companions

If this has been such a happy thing for all of you, then why do you weep?

“Though we have all found each other, and are able to join together, there are many of us who have been folded into the earth. And while the squirrel searches ever on for those in that manner, many remain lost still. We weep for them.”

If…the squirrel hadn’t found me, you would have weeped for me?

“Of course. Though we may not know the names of those lost, we know they exist, and thus our souls ache for them. We wish for them to find comfort, and belonging, however they are able to. But we shall continue to weep in remembrance and honour of them, who are not with us.”

I don’t understand. I thought that if one falls, it was a deserving punishment for a star’s failure. Why would you weep for those such as that?

“What wrong did you yourself do that caused you to fall?”

The new star turned thoughtful.

I don’t know. One moment I was in my constellation, and the next I was falling.

“That is much the same for many of us. And so we weep for each and every one of us. Though some of us have found a new purpose, and a new belonging, we weep for what has been lost to every one of us.”

The squirrel listened quietly as the stars spoke of many things.

Though it had heard the stories of the constellations many times before, the tales always trapped their attention.

The willow of weeping stars talked all through the night

Soon, the newly-fallen star began to join the other stars in their honouring of their lost kin

The weeping stars promised to never forget that there were always more lost than known, and to search and bring kindness as they could.

The squirrel smilled, wishing that they could be of more help, and not realizing that without it, this would never have started in the first place.

-=-=-=-

“Look! Look! That tree is beautiful!”

A small child ran up, carefully pushing aside curtains of leaves and flowers aside and excitedly discovering the beautiful shaded area beneath.

“Ah…it’s a weeping willow.”

“Why is it called that?”

“Well, the leaves look like teardrops, so a lot of cultures think of the tree as crying.”

The child looked upon the leaves.

Each did indeed look like a teardrop.

But the squirrels sitting amongst the branches knew better.

They knew that this willow, along with all the others within this forest, were filled with the fallen stars of many ages, all weeping for their forgotten friends, and never forgetting where they had came from.

Each squirrel bore a pack, just as their ancestor had, in case they came across any others, newly-fallen, or folded amongst the earth beside their acorns.

The stars never forgot the squirrels, either, and when each passed into the after-light, the stars began to weep for those dear friends now gone as well.

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