A Cloudy Minute with Orion

Hey, Sky Fans!

It was a little cloudy a couple of nights ago, but I thought maybe I could get a photo of Canis Major (the big dog), which is high enough early enough now that I can see the whole thing down the long curvy road through my neighborhood before the night gets too late.

I was wrong. It was too cloudy. I got this photo of Orion, though. What do you think? I love how the belt stars look more blue filtered through the clouds than they do in a clear sky. Maybe that’s just how I see them, I say, playing the color-blind card.

Orion, March 16, 2021

It’s amazing. I remember looking down that stretch of road, above the rooftops and trees down the way, and staring off into the distance at those stars a year ago. It was a day or two after, maybe even THE DAY that everything changed last year. I was already exhausted and scared, as we all were. Who knew what tomorrow would bring. I looked at people passing by suspiciously, “are they sick? Carriers?”

Now, all the stars are back in the same places they were then; overlaying and overlapping the skies from a year ago.

With the anniversary of the Covid shutdowns here now, it’s interesting to cross that first-year line. From here, we’ve experienced all the year’s markers once before. All the melting snow, all the drive-through birthdays, the geese honking above deserted sidewalks, the foreshortened seders and empty Easters. We can see some optimism; the sky is brightening now, but we’ve all been here before. Now we’re back for seconds, with dismal familiarity.

Through it all, it’s become clearer and clearer how much we need each other. How much, as much as masks suck, just seeing that anonymous person across the street wearing one gives you that moment of calm and connection-in-passing. I can’t tell you how much I love that commiseration, that thankful nod.

How important the nurses, teachers, doctors, and supermarket workers (please don’t be upset if I left you out) are, and how whatever they get paid it’s not enough.

How much, as much as you never want to hear the f’ing word “zoom” ever again once this is all over, the f’ing Zoom calls are important. I recently caught back up with some friends I don’t think I’ve spoken to since high school. Would I have, if not for Covid?

I remember sharing a moment under the stars, staring at the Big Dipper, and following the arc to Arcturus, of course, with a neighbor right around when my mom passed away last May. It was a brief moment of something that passed for normal. Then, they caught up with me months later to talk about how much those ten minutes meant to them. We both needed that moment; both of those moments. That date will always be a minor holiday to me.

I’m sure you have some moments like these, too.

Many people, far too many (some of whom might be reading this right now), did the wrong thing, but none of us would be here without each other, these moments and the greatness — how much of ourselves — the rest of us have all given.

We’ve all lost a tremendous amount this year, and things are still dangerous. we’re all exhausted, but we couldn’t have made it through alone, and I’m thankful for all of you.

Here’s hoping your skies are clear tonight where you are. I hope you’ll look for Orion tonight, too. Thanks for helping us all get through.


  1. These are terrible times for your country, Scott. I’ve watched the US numbers come down but they seem to be levelling now, which is bad news. Tonight I heard on our TV news that US hospitals are fearing a fourth wave. So many people dying, while so many others are not taking it seriously.

    Keep that mask on.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you… It’s been really difficult, but we’re getting through, despite the efforts of all the people who refuse to take this seriously. I’m really amazed to see what people in Australia have accomplished. You should be proud.

      Liked by 1 person

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