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These stars might be invisible when looked at straight on, but in peripheral vision they dazzle. They might even include a comet, or a transient meteor. There might be frost on the lawn, a pale glaze of watercolor light. Moon is nearly full but not quite.

If I stare hard enough upwards perhaps I will be lucky. Perhaps something will bring me the soaring delight of knowing I'm not alone.

There is no lake nearby, but if there was, I would go there in darkness and let my sense of which is up and which is down be lost. Perhaps the water's still surface would reveal, in reflection, that which I might miss in the cold air of sky.

I am looking for lights unnatural, or if I am more fortunate, exotic silver shapes that signify intelligent intent. I am asking to be frightened, knowing that the fear will be momentary, will be replaced by wonder.

It begins to snow gently. Coolness prevents the tiny flakes from melting, and they linger like an aura on the flyaway fibers of my sweater. I notice a skein of cloud has muted the stars. I pull my hat down over my ears. To look upward while snow falls is to fly through a whirlpool of tiny lights. An illusion of motion is created and I have to grip the rusted railing of the front steps to keep from falling over with dizziness.

Blue, red, blue, blinking above. An airplane coasts overhead, too high for its engines to be audible. A metallic embodiment of human triumph over gravity. It's always an airplane, I think to myself, Will it ever be anything else?

This was back before I'd heard of such concepts as wormholes, when I had only an vague notion of ideas about Newton's and Einstein's theorems. Intelligent beings from a sphere other than Earth would have to travel impossibly far in order to come visit, to come discover that they were not the Universe's sole means of self-observation.

I try and try to justify their existence to myself. I stand and stare for hours, through the swirls of snow and wisps of cloud, shivering in moonlit vapor, giving them a chance to reveal themselves. But they never do.

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