Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Dog Star

The man in the moon was in hiding.

In his skeletal, sickle-shaped state, he knew all too well that his light was too meager, too thin, to compete with the one who tonight ruled the skies.

For the heavenly wolf had appeared once again to lay claim to the firmament; the celestial prism of old who has steered the hand of the sailor, commanded the Nile, and sowed bright seeds of wonder in the heart of the shepherd alone on the cold windswept hill.

Sirius, The Dog Star, had returned.

An unblinking eye hanging high in the sphere of a cloudless January night, he stared calmly into our cottage window, as incandescent as a diamond.

From his place snuggled down in his fat paisley bed, the white dog was lost in a black and white dream, a canine film noir seen only by him.

His sleep was deep, not a sound of his breathing was heard.

When suddenly, up from the depths of his soul came a sound so arcane, so immortal, it drew shivers from the humans huddled up in their bed.

A howl.

Starting softly as an idea, then building and building to a crescendo of unfathomable feeling. A song from his ancestors, a chant from the angels, lifted up to the light of his very own star.

The enigmatic melody stayed in our minds long after its notes had diminished.

Another profound reminder of all we do not yet know.


Sirius, the brightest star in the whole of the night sky, is best seen on dark January nights. It can be found by using the constellation Orion's three-star belt and drawing an imaginary line to the lower left. Its true colour is blue-white, but it often blinks with all colours of the spectrum due to its proximity to the horizon and our constantly shifting atmosphere. I had no idea that Edward was aware of its presence, but learned better.

Painting by Theodor Severin Kittelsen