Waving Hello to Orion
Bob Dog convinced me this morning that "walking the dog" should be put ahead of "drinking coffee" on the daily schedule, so at 5 a.m. I was out giving Bob a spin around the 'hood. As he paused to smell the daily news left on the neighbor's hedge overnight, I looked up through the trees above and saw the constellation Orion spreadeagled across the sky.
I looked away and tried to keep on moving, but Bob was finding a trove of information there in the boxwood, so I glanced up again and almost gasped with amazement. Orion had moved so far! As I stood there, watching it glide across the sky, I had to look away because the sense of motion was making me a little queasy. "Good morning, Mighty Orion," I said, as Bob jangled his tags to let me know it was time to move on.
This weekend, I was interviewed by a reporter for Voice of America radio about the somewhat recent phenomenon of successful, educated adults moving to rural areas and starting small farms. Why, he asked me -- in a voice that indicated there was really no rational, acceptable answer to this question -- would anyone do that?
I tried to answer him, but I could see that nothing I said was really penetrating the cotton balls of arrogance he had stuffed in his ears. People want a more manageable lifestyle, I said. People like the security of knowing that they can surround themselves with a few acres where they can grow some food and create a buffer and a sense of safety. It's more pleasing to the senses to wake up to the sound of frogs and crickets than the wail of sirens and the rumble and clang of garbage trucks.
There's nothing particularly wrong with cities, I said, but there's a lot more right for some of us about small towns and rural life. This morning I got an even better answer, but he probably has no way of appreciating it either.
Our little blue-green ellipsoid is just a dot way the heck out in space, and this morning, one infinitesimal speck on this dot, this amazing assemblage known as Me, looked up and noticed something in the sky. We were passing in the night, Orion and I. And I, among a handful of humans on the entire planet, noticed and was moved by the experience.
Wow. Wow and amen.