Last night someone said to me, “Orion says hi”. I’ve never been on a first name basis with a constellation before. It had also never occurred to me how Canadian the Big Dipper feels, for some reason.

Interestingly, despite a geographical distance between myself and the speaker of a little over 4200kms (just over 2600 miles for the metrically impaired), and the better part of a continent, we have access to essentially the same sky.

Reminded me of the first time I looked up on a clear night once I was in Australia. Very disorienting. There are certain things one takes for granted about one’s world. People who don’t use ketchup and drive on the wrong side of the road… you can get used to that. But looking up into the sky and everything with which you are familiar is missing? It causes a very abrupt realization that you are Somewhere Else. And it makes home seem very, very far away. (Add one eternity for every leg of the flight you were in coach to get there…)

And yet, for them, the sky has its own patterns and landmarks (skymarks?) and constellations linked to others. Our Big Dipper is their Southern Cross. And you get used to it, kinda. And yet, the idea of laying out on the trampoline in the backyard, with three acres of yard around you so you have a 360 degree view, and staring up at a sky so fully of stars it makes you dizzy, and being treated to a meteor shower or Northern Lights in August, seems utterly impossible Somewhere Else.

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