So I'm not the only person who maintains some odd cross-state-of-matter relationship with Orion, even if we take different things away from our conversations in the dark. Chris Clarke, missing Zeke, resents Orion for still having Canis Major at his side. I glance up on my way back in from the recycling bin, notice he's still chasing that damn bull from horizon to horizon, and wish him better luck tonight.
Years ago, when things were more or less falling apart, the early-morning walks with the dog managed to carve out precious little tunnels in time and space where I could find stillness and solitude despite being outside in a semi-suburban neighborhood. In the late fall and winter, Tucson is pitch dark at five in the morning, quiet and mostly asleep, giving me sole claim to the streets I trundled down with the dog. No streetlights in the old neighborhood, and the porch lights were mostly shaded, creating the illusion of walking in a low-visibility bubble surrounded by blackness. It made for brilliant stargazing. Our cadence was softly measured by the clicking of the dog's nails on the asphalt and the puffs of her breath fogging in the cold air, both only occasionally drowned out by the tires and headlights of a passing car.
I walked under the constellations, pondering both a disintegrating marriage and the unanswered questions about myself that served as a solvent, and looked up at Orion caught between Taurus and Lepus and felt some solidarity with him on his futile nightly quest. Wondered what kept him from deciding the rabbit right at his feet wasn't enough, what kept him in pursuit of the handful of stars perpetually flying just beyond his grasp.
It's no more nutty, I guess, to have a group of stars as your confessor than to pray to an invisible god. At least I could see Orion, and as I never expected him to do anything about my stuff, I was never left disappointed. He was a handy sounding board in the cold and the dark. Tiny lights in the black sky impassively watching and going on their way as I hunched my shoulders and, turning the dog, trudged back towards home.