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Orion’s Belt

4

5:30 a.m. 

I hear the beating of a timba drum in my head. I force my eyes to focus on the small screen’s glow.  It takes a full minute for awareness to dawn: today is the first day of school.

5:45 a.m.

Luna pulls me down the driveway, from under the water oak’s giant canopy and across the street. I look up at the dark, cloudless sky, amazed that last night’s storms have subsided, ceding to morning’s clarity.

Hello, Orion, I whisper to hunter above my head.

orion's belt

6:00 a.m. 

Exiting the school yard and heading out the main road, I wonder if the street lamps will dim the shine of the celestial lights. Orion’s belt is fading from view.

Eyes on the sidewalk, defying the dog’s need to stop and sniff the grass along the curb, I urge her to pick up the pace. We jog across the strip mall parking lot; it’s mostly empty at this hour. As we pass the gas station and the hill edges upward, I’m inclined to break into a full run, to burst forth like daylight, which is just around the next corner. Only Luna senses danger; she smells the neighbor’s dog approaching from behind the trees. I coax her, with gentle murmurings, to wait until they pass.

6:15 a.m.

One left turn, and we are close to home, where I will shed my sneakers and exchange Luna’s leash for car keys. Entering the neighborhood, I look up to catch a last glimpse of the night sky. I can still see his three stars winking back at me. Daylight is just around the corner.

In a few moments we’ll be home and the memory of Orion’s belt will fade completely. I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to conserve the energy unleashed by walking through twilight, wishing I could somehow pour it into my commuter mug, imagining I could drink it all afternoon.

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Comments (4)

Pamela, this was so fun for me to read. How I miss walking my little Boston Terrier, but I still walk. I can so relate to your wishing you could drink the energy you gathered in the morning all afternoon.

Thank you, Denise! It’s finally starting to cool down here, and I’m looking forward to adjusting the timing of our walks to early afternoon.

Hi Pamela,
There are so many sounds and images I like about this short piece! The beating of the timba drums … I’m inclined to break into a full run, to burst forth like daylight, which is just around the next corner – the double meaning of “around he corner” … wishing I could somehow pour it into my commuter mug, imagining I could drink it all afternoon. What wonderful pictures of your run!
Happy First Day of School!
Amy

Thanks, Amy! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the sounds and images, and that you pointed out your favorites in the comments. I worked for some time to eliminate and choose words so carefully, and I feel so grateful that a careful reader appreciated the poetry of my labor.

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