Astronomy | Culture | Family | Stargazing

There All Along

For the last few weeks Orion has greeted me in the dark beginnings of the day, reminding me that he’s been waiting all along for me to see him again. Like an old friend, mostly, who has entered the scene after some time away. Or maybe we are the ones re-entering the scene.

So much of our lives is there waiting in the wings for the moment when we turn our attention back to it. Old books sitting on a shelf, old friends you haven’t spoken with in years, old neighborhoods that framed so much of the way you look at the world, old lines from movies or lyrics from songs that remind you of a moment long ago when things seemed simple. Sometimes these things come back into our lives, but often they’ve been there all along.

Orion reminded me to look for what I often miss. I see Orion and look for Taurus, and then smile at memories of long walks with a curious dog who saw things in the night that I could only guess at. That dog is no longer here, but his memory is still with me, waiting to draw a smile or a grimace… or sometimes both. You can miss someone that’s long gone, and you can miss them when they’re right in front of you.

My father suffers from dementia, and I wonder if my memories will fade the way his have. Will I still remember the names of my children, or will they be lost the way my name is to him? It’s hard to imagine an existence where I don’t, yet see it happen over and over with the generations before ours. Will I remember to look up at the sky and know Orion? The future is never guaranteed, and our memories are fragile things. And so, it seems, are we.

Sometimes we can’t control anything at all, but we can reach out and let them know we’ve been here all along. I suppose that’s about all we can do in the end. Look up and say “hello, it’s nice to see you again”. And make the most of that time together while we have it.

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