Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Orion guards our house

Last night we drove thirty miles north to take dinner to a friend who has just had the most technologically amazing surgery. (It went well, but he'll be in a neck brace for months.) We had a nice evening, looking at gorgeous things (he makes astonishing jewellery with amethyst, pearl, gold, agate and other pebble-sized semi-preciousness--more on this another time) eating good home-cooked food and drinking Rioja (moderately, because of the drive). A plain but lovely evening between old friends.

On the way back the night was black and sharp, the stars brilliant, with a quarter moon lying on its back and huge Douglas firs looming on each side of the road. There wasn't much wind but the night tasted wild. As we got nearer the Sound, and our house, the trees got bigger, the roads narrower, and the sky smaller. And then I saw Orion--more clearly than I have for years--and he bestrode our house, the star at the tip of his sword looking as though it was about to go down our chimney. And I felt oddly comforted: we have a star warrior guarding our lives; we have the room and time to laugh and drink and love a little before armouring up for the fray in the morning.

We got out of the car, and the night was silent apart from the groan and whisper of trees and some night bird lecturing a vole about something. The air smelt of good dirt and breathing trees. The moon had mellowed; a bank of inky cloud came floating across the water like a pillow.

I slept well. I hope you did, too.

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