When school starts in the fall, I always leave very early in order to beat the traffic. I get up about 5:15 and leave the house by 6:00am. I’d much rather spend the time at school getting work done than leave later and end up crawling in the morning rush. Though my sleep is a bit curtailed, in exchange I usually get to see the sun rise (earth turn) over Lake Michigan.
Also Orion, the Hunter, accompanies me to my car each morning (at least until spring). In the southern sky, to the left of the garage, as I walk through the garden to the car, he has his bow positioned and ready, his sword dangling, his left hand lifted high as if in a flamenco pose. (I easily locate him by his three star belt.) In fact, I get very disappointed if the sky is overcast and he is not visible. He is my charm, ready to do battle with the young spirits I deal with every day.
When the clocks are moved back to extend daylight later into the afternoon and early evening, I lose Orion for a while. He gets stuck behind the trees and buildings along the street. I usually can catch him just as I get to work on those “daylight saving” days.
There is something so remarkable about the persistence of stars in their perceived movement and mysterious presence. There is something quite profound about knowing the light I see coming from them is hundreds, thousands, even billions of years old; that the light I witness, left the stars way before there were any white faces in this part of the world; that the path I walk to the garage was once a dense birch forest, and before that, was under water, part of the lake itself, about a quarter mile from its western shore.
And these sacred gifts are given to me each morning, as I fumble for my keys, trying to figure out what I’ll be doing with my students that day and as I balance my freshly brewed coffee, overflowing briefcase, iphone, containers filled with lunch, and sometimes even a bag of garbage to be deposited in the alley.