Saturday, November 08, 2008

Orion rising

When I lived in San Diego County, the starry seasons rolled overhead in scarcely perceptible increments. Nights were generally clear, and I could usually see a very early appearance of Capella or Lyra or whatever, then follow it for a few months as the star or constellation inched westward across the night sky until finally sinking below the horizon.

Not so in the northern Willamette Valley. Visual silence for weeks, then a stunning glimpse (Where'd THAT come from?!), then gone again. At least during the nine months surrounding summer. Clouds, overcast, fog, more clouds...I see no sky for a week or two or more of nights. Then bang—I walk out tonight and see Orion's shoulder thrusting up in the east. Rising. That hoary hero is waking once again. I mean, it's nearly 10 pm, been plenty dark for four hours for the last week or so since the resumption of Standard Time. But only tonight did the clouds break so that I, flipping off the front porch light and stepping outside for a last look around, actually saw Betelgeuse and Bellatrix and the Belt.

Whoa. It's been nearly a year since I saw (in C. S. Lewis's phrase) "that earnest constellation." It's always like a reunion, when a star pushes up into my view again after a half-year absence. Good to have you back.

Then back inside to scrape out the buttercup squash I baked this afternoon, then out a half hour later to lock up things—and I look up, and the sky is gone behind the quilt of clouds.

Hey, at least I saw it, know Orion is there. And will be, the next time my nighttime glance upwards coincides with a break in the weather.


At 12:43 AM, Blogger Jenni said...

Orion is like a best friend to me. When I see him in the night sky, I feel loved and protected, like someone is watching over me. Almost like an adoring, powerful father figure. I feel almost silly saying that, but the sensation is real and profound.


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