The First Fall

Have you ever wondered why the leaves turn brilliant shades of red and orange in the fall? It’s quite the story actually. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with chlorophyll or the earth's tilt. I have no clue where you got that idea from. Anyway, it started with a star, a particularly curious one. She happened to be a little red star in the constellation of Aries. There she lived with her litter of siblings, all varying in size, luminosity, and temper.

This little star already had quite a reputation within her few billion years of existence of being an unintentional trouble-maker. She never meant for her older sister to lose her spot in the head of the ram, nor did she intend for the tug-a-war between her younger brother and sister to happen, but given her wandering tendencies mishaps tended to happen. (Although her involvement with the Taurus debacle might have been intentional.)

During one of her periods of absent-minded wandering, she took a glance at the edge of where void meets earth and noticed something she had never quite seen before. Looking past heaven’s disc, something seemed to cover the earth in an unfamiliar subsistence. Her attention was quickly captured, not unlike a sift of dust that drifted too close to a black hole.

Now, why was she interested in the terrestial plane? Simple, the color green. Now why the color green of all things you ask. Well, have you ever seen a green star? Have you ever seen the sky turn green during a sunrise or a sunset? Or have you ever seen a cloud of green dust mixed into the arm of a galaxy? Have you seen a marriage of galaxies that illuminate in green light?

Neither have I.

Anyway, this little star, oh so curious in this oddity that is our planet, decided to have a closer look. Straying away from the cluster that comprised her siblings, she crept to the end of the night sky and peered over its edge. Peeking her head over, she could see that the earth was covered in a vast arrangement of trees, bushes, flowers, and moss. Near the equator close to where she was, she saw areas full of tall trees wrapped up in vines and canopies that lined rivers and shores. In the oceans that were overseen by the Southern Cross, little islands dotted the turquoise waters with specks of green. When she looked to the north where the Mother and Child Bears roamed, she could see meadows and pastures, some with flowers that varied in colors like her siblings. She also saw forests and orchards, farmlands and marshes, mountains with dark evergreens and swamps with tangled weeds.

The little star was fixed in a trance of wonder as she studied the exotic place known as earth. As she examined the terrestrial world though, she paid no attention to how far she began to lean over the edge. She stretched herself more and more to see farther and farther, wanting to uncover each little detail this world had. Eventually, there came a tipping point where her balance in the sky broke and gravity finally took over.

While she had her focus on the northern lands of where we now know Norway and Sweden to be, her hand that gripped the disc slipped over the edge and she began her plummet down towards the earth. As she fell, she screamed and cried, watching her celestial home and cluster of siblings become distant at an alarming pace. Her tears of stardust scattered all across the northern hemisphere. It dusted the trees with brilliant reds and oranges. Farmlands began to have large bounties of harvest and the earth began to shiver cold in fright. Descending closer and closer to the ground, her body flared and her corona began to tear. Leaves began to harden and lose their liveliness, and parts of the land browned and decayed as they were touched by her dying flame. When she finally crashed into the Earth’s crust, all that made her a star shattered. The collision rumbled through all the earth, to the point Gaea had to realign herself a bit to the left. The remains of the star’s coverings drifted throughout the atmosphere, until it settled in various places upon the face of the earth, becoming one with the soil which in turn became a part of the greenery she so admired.

Did the little star survive, you ask? Well, her heart remained intact after the fall, but she was no longer a star. She had lost her glimmer and her glow, she could no longer stand among her siblings and dance in the night sky. Mother Earth, taking pity on the poor thing, encased her still-burning heart in a form of clay, water, and breath. It took a while, but the former star awoke and began to wander the earth as a new being. Many called her a god, others a spirit, sometimes she was known as a sprite. Various other names and labels were given to her from Earth’s inhabitants, trying to make sense of what she was. If you asked her though, she’d say it doesn’t really matter. She still wanders to satisfy her curiosity and make a little mischief here and there. But every year when the constellation of Aries grows closer to becoming best visible in the sky, her stardust reacts and colors the world red. Just as soon though, the stardust dims and is claimed by snow before the constellation can see the earth in her wondrous hue.

She misses them, you know. And I bet they long for her return as well. Afterall, Aries no longer shines as bright as they did before the first fall.