Goodnight, Orion

Goodnight, Orion

I lived at home with my parents for the year after I graduated from college. My bed was against the window on the far side of the house – tucked away in the corner of a giant, cozy room. The street is like most in the town – dark (there are no street lights) and quiet (there is hardly any traffic). On cool summer nights, the sound of the crickets and frogs were the bedtime lullaby. Before climbing into bed, I would open the blinds just enough to see the stars when I put my head on my pillow. It became a part of my routine to look for the stars through the window pane – around the time I usually went to bed, there in the center of the window was Orion. He became my favorite constellation since he was the easiest one to spot: with the three bright stars so close together making up his belt.  So a habit formed: whispering goodnight to the constellation Orion before drifting off to sleep.

The next four years took me to many cities, streets, and beds. There would be many nights I would look up at the sky, taking in the beauty and searching for the familiar. I’ve whispered greetings to that grouping of stars from my own apartment, from road trips, and from hotels along the way and I always feel a deep sense of home when I do. For that moment my eyes catch sight of those 3 stars, my body relaxes and I am safe in my childhood home listening to crickets and smelling the anticipation of sunshine.

Orion and I made new memories this past year when I moved with my husband in Alberta, Canada. Many evenings we would spend visiting friends in Calgary, which would often require a late night drive back to our house in Okotoks. I spent much of these drives soaking in the big, prairie sky, in awe that the Rocky Mountains were just beyond the dark. There’s a certain point along the drive, where city turns to farm and my old friend waits to say goodnight. And so there, thousands of miles from my old bedroom window, I’d smile and nod a “goodnight” as the car rushed past the fences and hay stacks.

Tonight I took the elevator down twenty-nine stories to the ground floor of our condo building in Metro Manila. The weather is hot and I miss the crickets. The city is bright and I miss the stars, I even miss the wide open Alberta skies. But tonight I brought our dog out for a walk and I soaked in the good of this new home – I smiled at people walking by, I inhaled the smells of the nearby chocolate factory, I thanked God that I felt at ease in this new community even if just for this moment. My gaze rose up toward the smog filled sky and my eyes caught it – the three stars of Orion’s belt. I can see Orion from here and when I think of it, I feel deeply home.

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