On the Frailty of a Falling Star
Excerpt from Ed Abbey's Desert Solitaire "Cowboys and Indians Part II"
In the mixture of starlight and cloud-reflected sunlight in which the desert world is now illuminated, each single object stands forth in preternatural though transient brilliance, a final assertion of existence before coming of night: each rock and shrub and tree, each flower, each stem of grass, diverse and separate, vividly isolate, yet joined each to every other in a unity which generously includes me and my solitude as well.
Or so it seems at the moment, as my fire dies to a twist of smoke and a heap of rubies, and for a moment I think I’ve almost caught a falling star: there is no mystery; there is only paradox, the incontrovertible union of contradictory truths. A falling star which melts into vapor as I grasp it, which flows through my fingers like water, like smoke.