Maria Mitchell In Her Own Words

May 11, 1853. I could not help thinking of Esther a few evenings since when I was observing. A meteor flashed upon me suddenly, very bright, very short-lived; it seemed to me that it was sent for me especially, for it greeted me almost the first instant I looked up, and was gone in a second – it was as fleeting and as beautiful as the smile upon Esther’s face the last time I saw her . . . my faith has been weaker than ever since she died, and my fears have been greater.

Have you ever looked up at the stars and felt as if you were the only person in the world? Or, when you saw a meteor streak across the sky, and maybe gasped to yourself as it was so sudden, so fleeting, and felt like you were the only one who probably saw it? And, that it was as if some higher power somewhere was acknowledging you or giving you this beautiful though fleeting gift?

I understand what Maria means in reference to her cousin, Esther, who had recently died. A beautiful vivid flash – instantly there but instantly gone. You barely have time to grab on and then that person is gone. You think you have all the time but you don’t. Made harder by losing people who are young – who barely get to show who they are, what they are made of, what they can do, what changes they can make, what things they can discover, who they can help.

JNLF