Saturday, December 24, 2011

Crunchy Underfoot

I just turned off all the lights at my parents house; just the first floor, I suppose, since the second floor lights were already out and rooms full of sleeping people and animals. I walked out onto the porch in my mom's super thick and protective winter coat, boots, gloves, scarf and hat, because it is three degrees out there.


Three is when your body feels really tight and rigid and you can really only think about how strange it is to feel that cold anywhere exposed to the cold while the rest of you feels just fine.

Anyway: I stepped out on my porch and stared up and rapidly pulled in a breath in awe. The amount of stars, numerically, is incredible! But the sizes, too, are mind-boggling: some small and some large, some white and some yellow or copper or blue. Some constellations tiny and compressed, some large and extending for what must be trillions and trillions of miles.

Orion stood out to me tonight. I could see his belt and his knife, but that is not impressive. I could also see every point on the wooden part of his bow, as if I could just lay a real one on top of the stars and fit the curve perfectly. I saw his hands, his wrist, the bend of his elbow and the shape of his arm. I could see his head and hair, his feet, legs, and of course, the dogs laying underneath him. I could see many other constellations, too, but Orion stood out tonight.

Three degrees!


It is so beautiful, outside in the cold, when you look around and see the cozy, warm glow of the houses against the stark black night studded with millions of stars. Looking out to the northwest, you can see the twinkle of lights of other houses across the bay, and the way that the sky is reflected onto the surface of the ocean. You can see trees reaching their naked fingers up into the sky. The only sound is the occasional car on Route 3 or sometimes, the twisting noises of tree trunks twisting in the wind.

I wished, a few minutes ago, that I could sit on the snow. But, three degrees is cold and the stars will be there again tomorrow.

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