There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. (from The Return of the King by J R R Tokien)
I’ve always loved star-gazing. There’s just something beautiful about a starry sky that is far more than just aesthetic, something that just touches my soul in a special way. Of course, as a Texas girl, I always had lots of opportunities to enjoy the night sky. In fact, some of my very favorite memories from high school involve warm blankets and warmer friends sitting in the bed of my big red Chevy truck, watching God’s splendor twinkling above us. Orion has always been my favorite constellation. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s visible all year round and at almost all times of night, or if it’s because I can find it more easily than other constellations, but there’s something very comforting for me about looking up and seeing Orion. Something familiar, like I’m greeting an old friend. Something dependable and constant.
I don’t see the stars very often these days. That comes from city-living, in part, and from frequently-overcast skies. And I don’t expect to see them. So when I do see the few visible stars over Boston, it’s a special experience. A few weeks ago, just after I had come back after spending Christmas in Texas, I took my dog out for a quick stroll before bedtime on a clear night, and I saw Orion for the first time in Boston. It was such a small thing, but it felt comforting and affirming.
If you live somewhere in Big Sky Country, take a minute on the next clear night to peek at the stars for me. Say hello to Orion. And now, please join me in singing “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tale, because that song has been playing in my head the whole time I’ve been writing this post.