It is overcast this evening, but if the clouds break I may go outside to where the apartment lights dim to see if I can see Fomalhaut the Lonely, one of the astrology's four royal stars. It rises alone, and sets alone, and I start looking for it in late August, knowing it is the harbinger of fall and more temperate weather.
Once people walked outside at night and looked up. Now they stay indoors and look down. The sky of stars is a land lost to us. Once it was the home of great serpents, of heroes and their hunting dogs, of pole-stars that guided us.It was the great ever- changing river of seasons and time. But now it is the darkness we endure passing from lighted place to lighted place.
Had I a grandchild, I would take her outside to see Orion, and the Twins. I would buy her "The Friendly Stars" by Martha Evans Martin and Donald Howard Menzel, if I could find it. My copy came to Nashville with me when I moved here 30 years ago. I have owned it since I was sixteen. Dover Books published it.
Happy the child who turns over stones to look for salamanders. Who wants to know the name of each wildflower. And I hope he is out there some clear autumn night standing behind his new telescope, looking for Fomalhaut.