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Sunday August 26, 2001, 05:27

I got home this evening and he was standing there, just like in that poem that I illustrated in grade school1. I stood outside, facing east and found myself staring right at Orion's belt.

When I was growing up, that was always my favorite constellation. Whether it was because I could always find it, or because it was the one that my father always pointed out to me, or because I just liked the idea of a large hunter standing up in the sky, I always searched for Orion first when I would look up at the evening sky. And I suppose that I hadn't thought about him in a while, because tonight, when I looked up, and saw his standing there, looking back at me, I was struck with a particular sense of comfortable recognition.

It's getting later in the year, so maybe he hasn't even been out at all yet. Or maybe it's because it's so hard to see the stars up above the city. Granted, he was a bit faint. But he was there, and the sky above me, filled with bits of the city, made his belt shimmer more than I'd ever noticed before.

It seemed so fitting. After a night out with friends. A night out that ended with me thinking so much more about myself than I normally do, actually trying to articulate what it is that I'm doing here in this city, this life right now. What I'm doing here, how I'm doing it and where I hope it will take me (if I may be so abstract for the moment). With all those feelings of confusion, of unrest, and of self-validation, it fit so nicely to have this guardian of my youth, high up above me, reminding me that wherever I go, where ever I end up, I have always come from somewhere.

And that place will always be high up above me, looking down on me from the stars.



1. That poem was The Star-Splitter, by Robert Frost. And as I read through the entire text of the poem now, I realize that I was only given the first two lines on which to base this illustration.

You know Orion always comes up sideways.
Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains,
That was the assignment. We had to draw that. And I did. There was a picture of a large man, a hunter, swinging a leg up over a white picket fence that had been superimposed over a mountain range. It was probably the most literal drawing I had ever done. And for some reason, I still remember it. I remember how hard it was to get the leg right. And I remember that I was never happy with the way it turned out. I couldn't get the "throwing a leg up" part of the picture just right. It was too stiff. He was stepping, not throwing, and I could not imagine it well enough to draw it. I stood in front of my bedroom mirror, one leg raised in the air, as if stepping over a fence of mountains and attempting to freeze that in my mind to properly convey it on paper.

I never did get it right.

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