Walking out, the night was pleasantly still and clear, and I instinctively glanced up to see what the walk had in store for me in the darkening sky. Venus shining brightly in the west offered promise, with a faint El Nath riding just above her. El Nath is the star that marks the tip of the left horn of Taurus. I’m a Taurus myself, and so I’m pleased to see a bit of the constellation as it drops down for the night. Taurus, like his eternal hunter nemesis Orion, roams the winter sky. Everything has its season, even the stars.
A quick survey around reveals Gemini to the southwest and further up Leo prowls above. Like bird songs and French and cooking Indian food, I know the basics but I’m in no way a master at the night sky. But like those other pursuits I chip away at it when I can. Tonight was no exception and I work at it a bit longer but the evening is already getting too bright. Reaching the top of the hill I turn around and gasp at the stunning full yellow moon rising above the tree tops. I linger in the middle of the road for a minute when I’m startled by a noise behind me. A woman out for a walk is powering past, loud music vibrating out of her earbuds and reaching across to jolt me. I mention the moon but she’s in no mood to talk to a stranger in the dark. Neither was I, honestly. I let her walk ahead to give her the space we all need on such a night.
The walker shook the magic out of the moment and I reluctantly walk back home. I’m teased by a shooting star off in my peripheral vision. They have a way of doing that, the rascals. As I walk down the hill the moon disappears into the trees, but still illuminates the sky. The stars, just emerging, grow faint again and I know it’s time to call it a night. One last look around; Leo nods down at me and I say my farewells. Another evening walk in the books, different from others in so many ways, as they always are. I didn’t focus on how far I walked, but my watch tells me I spent most of my time in the stars. That’s just like me.