“But let’s not talk about fare-thee-wells now
The night is a starry dome
And they’re playin’ that scratchy rock and roll
Beneath the Matala Moon” – Joni Mitchell, “Carey”
These particular lyrics jump out at me every time I hear this song. The spell of a starry dome night on a beach in Mexico with rock and roll music playing. I’ve done my best to duplicate that portrait many times over the years, sometimes on a beach somewhere, sometimes just in the backyard around a fire pit, and sometimes on an island on a New Hampshire lake with loud music, fire and friends. Stars over water, stars high on mountain tops, stars in the desert… always stargazing in the darkest corners I can find. Epic bonding time with my dog for years before he couldn’t go on our stargazing walks anymore… and it seems I wouldn’t without him.
The days grow shorter with the tilt of the earth away from the sun in the northern hemisphere. Better suited for seeing that starry dome overhead. A good reason to get back to nighttime walks, head tilted up for constellations, satellites, and the occasional shooting star. There’s so much going on up there, and we sit in our houses unaware of the dance happening above the roof.
“You know Orion always comes up sideways,
Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains,
And rising on his hands, he looks in on me
Busy outdoors by lantern-light with something
I should have done by daylight, and indeed,
After the ground is frozen, I should have done
Before it froze, and a gust flings a handful
Of waste leaves at my smoky lantern chimney
To make fun of my way of doing things,
Or else fun of Orion for having caught me . . .”
– Robert Frost, “The Star Splitter”
Orion returns to the dance soon. I’ve missed this sky dancer most of all these summer months. I smiled reading Frost’s description of Orion throwing a leg sideways over the mountains. Were I that clever with a few choice words! I’ll get there, or at least enjoy the process of trying to get there. We can’t all be Robert Frost or Joni Mitchell spinning magic in words. But they weren’t that once either. Just get out there and do your dance under the stars. They won’t judge you.