Orion Cinched His Belt Today

An Astronomical Bestiary

Perhaps second only to the Big Dipper in Ursa Major, the constellation of Orion is one of the most recognizable patterns of stars in the northern sky. Orion, the hunter, stands by the river Eridanus and is accompanied by his faithful dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor. Together they hunt various celestial animals, including Lepus, the rabbit, and Taurus, the bull. According to Greek mythology, Orion was in love with Merope, one of the Seven Sisters who form the Pleiades, but Merope would have nothing to do with him. Orion’s tragic life ended when he stepped on Scorpius, the scorpion. The gods felt sorry for him, so they put him and his dogs in the sky as constellations. They also put all of the animals he hunted up there near him. Scorpius, however, was placed on the opposite side of the sky so Orion would never be hurt by it again.

See also another version of the Orion myth written by Kevin Grey.

From the northern hemisphere, the three bright stars (Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka) in a straight line that form Orion’s Belt are easily visible on the southern horizon in winter evenings. The bright star that forms Orion’s left shoulder is Betelgeuse. The name of this star means “The Armpit of the Central One” in Arabic, which shows that like many other constellations, Orion was recognized across many cultures.

Hanging down from Orion’s belt is his sword that is made up of three fainter stars. The central “star” of the sword is actually not a star at all, but the Great Orion Nebula, one of the regions most studied by astronomers in the whole sky. Nearby is the Horsehead Nebula (IC 434), which is a swirl of dark dust in front of a bright nebula.

My Journey

I was once strong, young, with sturdy limbs, deeply rooted keeping my surroundings in place. I provided shelter and food, a place to climb and comfort. I provided shade to cool the earth around me and for any who would come under my long branches.

Through the course of life, events knocked me off my mooring; I ended up at sea. Drifting many miles, seeing many lands, seeking answers and purpose. While traveling I was able to provide some shelter again and a place of rest for some of God’s creatures. This gave me some comfort.

Yet I floundered, pondering the meanings of this new existence. While moving from sea to sea seeking the yet unknown, I was battered, knocked around and chipped. Pieces of me gone, worn, tired and then ended up on shore again.

I was put to the fire temporarily providing heat, and was sent to sea again to drift, contemplate more. Again seeking, wandering and wondering, experiencing. My roughness worn off though still carrying scars of burn and battering, to beach once again.

I’ve been reclaimed, soothed of the char surrounding my body, limbs long worn down, now wondering if there is still purpose, what purpose for me? My once mighty roots grounded in the strong foundation given to me by another, worn and tired now, is there still hope?

Another life chapter and venture to embark on? Yes, yes there is.
The char is nearly gone now by the diligence of tender loving hands revealing outward beauty and strength within. With renewed vision and resolve, the beauty now seen from within this broken and weakened vessel, has sought and found some answers.

Now rejoicing in the findings and meanings, to once again provide shelter, comfort and sustenance. Sail with me now, there is strength still in my foundation, strong enough, to rejoice and embrace. My sails are full. My Faith restored.

rkh 8.21.15