Since moving out west, I have learned the true meaning of a starry night (see my older post on stars here). These days, I have the advantage of living at the bottom of a high-placed canyon (elevation of about 8000 ft), and a large window with a bed pushed right up to it. This wasn’t actually my choice, as that’s where the bed was sitting when I arrived and the frame was so old and rickety I couldn’t move it, but an advantage to this is a pretty incredible view of the sky as I fall asleep.
When Austin and I first started dating we hung out a lot under the guise of ‘astronomy lessons.’ He taught me about the celestial bodies and the constellations they form while I giggled and twirled my hair (hey, it worked!). One of the very first constellations he showed me was Scorpio, who takes up almost the entire southern sky. I’m not huge into astrology, but Scorpio being my astrological sign I did take a liking to it from the beginning. Mostly though, I associate it with that first summer at Canyonlands, probably one of the most exciting times of my life. I saw her every evening as she rose above housing on the Island, and I used her as my base for direction on very dark nights. When Austin went into the backcountry for long patrols he would tell me to look for Scorpio in the sky, so we could watch her together from our separate spots in the park.
For most of my life I’ve always held on to certain songs as representative of different times. When I hear a particular tune my memory flies back to some moment or emotion. I’ve always liked that little habit, and although that hasn’t really changed, I’ve recently come to the realization that certain constellations are starting to have the same effect. If Scorpio brings me back to last summer, The Big Dipper will bring me back to this one, I’m sure. Because as Scorpio watched over me in my room at Canyonlands, when I lie in bed at Mesa Verde, the Big Dipper is framed perfectly by the window above me. I’ve spent almost every night contemplating his form and his purpose this summer as I fall asleep. And just seeing him brings a sense of calmness over me. If Scorpio represents excitement for some big change, the Big Dipper I think will always ellicit the joyous calm I’ve felt all season here as I’ve fallen asleep.
And unlike a song that could fall out of play or a photo that may get lost, my constellations will remain always as anchors in the sky. And as long as my mind and memory are sound, and my view clear, I will hold on to the memories of these past two summers every time I consider the night. And I feel so lucky for that.
PS – I just realized I published this post exactly 1 year and 1 day after my last post on stars. Crazy huh?