Orion is a winter constellation.
if you’re outside
at the right (ungodly) hour,
you can see him in the summer.
He seems fainter, yet closer
than he did in those cold February nights in Virginia
in the ink-black night
unsullied by a single earthly glow
where the blanket of stars seemed to stretch forever
at least until they were ringed in by the tall trees
of the forest where your heart still lay.
There you laid on the frozen hood of your car
and opened your mind to the distance between galaxies
and knew for the first time
how small you were.
at the same time,
You opened your mind to the infinity of possibility
and felt your heart race
with a strange and mysterious optimism.
In a universe this big,
all things are possible.
Twenty years later,
in the summer,
you notice that he leans a little
as though stumbling, or
recovering from a fall
rather than standing proud and wary
searching for the hunter’s prey.
His faithful hound, Canis Major,
Is beneath him rather than beside him
Not so cold as in February
and somehow as you perceive
the glow of the city lights
and the humdrum of humanity
(even at this ungodly hour)
it seems fitting.
Like Canis is capering playfully
And Orion is laughing
and this is not the serious business of hunting
of life and death.
You prefer him in February, truth be told
but this is also true:
that while perceptions change
and now you know that the universe,
while not quite infinite,
still has no boundary
in this universe
myriad possibilities still exist
if only you can open your mind
and your heart
as you did as a young boy
lying on a old and careworn car
that still would take you anywhere
if only you would grasp the wheel.
You turn your face from the heavens
and toward the dog snuffling at your own feet
unconcerned by any wheeling gyrations
of stars far above.
–TB, September 2, 2010