A Shooting Star and a Wish Against Hate for 2023

River Irons
2 min readJan 1, 2023
Moon Over Makemake (MAH-kay MAH-kay). Astronomy Picture of the Day for December 31, 2022

On the cold Thursday morning of December 29th at 6:34 AM, I stood on a hill over the Gunpowder River valley. I looked up at the Western sky over this Susquehannock land, this historic land where enslaved Africans labored, died, and broke free. A brilliant white ball of flame, its tail a sparkling arc, blazed through my field of vision and was gone in an instant.

The sky was a soft blue, bright enough to illuminate the shapes of clouds and the trails of planes. So close to dawn I could see only the brightest stars. I thought about how close and large this object must have been so I could see it. I thought about the miracle of looking up at the moment it burned up in the earth’s atmosphere.

Make a wish. You’re supposed to make a wish.

Alright. If I only get one wish, I’m asking for the end of all oppressive social constructs. I shouldn’t have to explain. Whatever entity receives these wishes should know all the studies I’ve done and know exactly what that means.

As the sun rose, I pictured what the world might look like as people were getting out of bed to start their day and finding that my wish had come true.

What could our lives be with no racism, no patriarchy, no LGBTQIA hate, no anti-fat bias, no class hierarchy, no borders? Everyone living as their true selves, released from all the figurative and literal prisons of our own making?

My mind became overwhelmed. I could only see an abstraction of explosive joy: billions of people bursting out of captivity to finally claim their freedom.

But my wish really is…just a wish. There’s no magic, no entity that will get us out of doing the work of dismantling our constructs.

We each have just a tiny part to play. The magic is in how all of our seemingly small works become the overwhelming explosion of freedom and joy my shooting star inspired. We create that vision. Today we have a fresh new year to do it in.



River Irons

I grew up in a cult. I escaped. I still search for freedom from oppressive constructs. Digital Artist, Storyteller.