Stars are born in nebulae. Gravitational forces and the perfect conditions come together to create beautiful, shining masses of light.

Or something like that. The hobby astronomer explained it as we dropped by for star gazing at the observatory. There they were — four young, precious stars in the center of Orion Nebula.

It takes thousands of light years for these events to reach our field of sight. The stars we see are not young anymore. Many of them are already dead.

In a similar way, we marvel at the perfect conditions it takes to form a great artist, writer, musician. What elements came together? What conditions? What gravitational forces did they need to overcome?

As with stars, we often only begin to look long after they are gone.

Symphony of Color and Sound: A Very Short Story

The sky opened up, and it rained. Raindrops of different sizes fell onto leaves, and trees, and roofs, and pipes, and soil, and pavement. They traveled at different speeds — some fell quickly, some slowly. Some were round and full, some long and thin. Some spiraled down, and some gracefully floated. Each made a distinct sound as it landed, and together the rain drops created a symphony of notes, ranging all octaves, perfectly and rhythmically in sync with each other.

Each small parcel of water refracted the light, reflected the others, and experienced the symphony in his or her own unique way. Each one had a perspective, each had emotions. Most were thinking about their own business, chores, relationships — and there was a lot to think about, since the journey from the clouds to the earth seemed to them like an eternity.

Somewhere in the middle of his journey, one raindrop voiced his distress. He said to his neighbor, “Why is my shape so ugly — why cannot I be more like you? And why cannot I feel happy? I don’t know where I’m going, never did, and never will. I have no purpose. I’m never doing the right thing, never making the right choice. And what is the meaning of all of this anyway?”

He was lucky to have a wise neighbor, who replied: “You are exactly the shape that you need to be. You are exactly in the right place, at the right time, throughout your entire journey. Every choice you make leads you in exactly the right direction. Each one of us is in exactly the right position in space and time. Look beyond yourself and you will see that we are all part of beauty beyond words. Our perfect alignment, our perfect synchronization of shape, movement, and choices, allows us — together — to refract the divine light at just the right angle — to form the rainbow.”