As part of this year's September Shorts I've asked writer friends to contribute posts inspired by the title One Cool Thing. They'll be telling you about one cool thing they're looking forward to as Autumn approaches. It might be a book or movie, a tabletop or computer game, an event or visit to a special place, a chance to achieve something... or perhaps even an exciting new project.
Today is the turn of a terrific poet - Dom Conlon, writer of This Rock, That Rock and Leap Hare, Leap! - making an autumnal observation with which I very much concur! You can check out his website here.
Dom Conlon: Dark Nights
I try to not look ahead too often. Being less focussed on plans and more excited by the tiny life events happening around me helps me deal with an increasing number of projects without pushing them all to one side until they become a burden.
But one thing I am looking forward to in the coming months is the tightening fist of darkness around my waking day. Lovely as the summer has been in its own weird way, nothing beats autumn and winter for having the darkest of skies in my part of the world. And where there are dark skies there are stars.
When I talk to children about astronomy, the subject which often underpins my poetry and my stories, I am asked whether looking up makes me feel small. It doesn't. Looking down at my phone makes me feel small. The rage of social media is a crowded elevator descending into hell.
But looking at the vastness of space, contemplating points of light it would take generations to reach, this centres me. It makes me feel THE centre, in fact. The centre of the universe where I am surrounded by such undemanding wonder that all I have to do is observe in order to be a part of it.
So yes, I am looking forward to the darkness and the thoughts which shine in it.