Venus, Jupiter, and the good old Rion (and the dippers, of course)

Once upon a time when the beach urchins were little girls, it was a cold clear Saturday night after a significant snowfall. I was antsy and I think I tried to get everyone to go outside with me but they were all being slow about it, so I finally grabbed my skis and headed over into the schoolyard. Do you know how often a person can actually put on cross-country skis in the *city* here and go anywhere beyond the back yard? Not very often.

And wow! There was the constellation Orion big as life in the southern sky. A blast from the past. I remembered walking southward down the alley behind my house on Superior Street, snowbanks towering on either side of me, Orion hanging out in the sky to the south. I am not much of an astronomer. I think Orion is about the only constellation I easily recognize besides the dippers and those are a no-brainer for somebody who grew up spending summers on a north-facing beach on Gitchee Gumee.

Tonight, Jupiter and Venus are in conjunction, if I have the terminology right (actually they will be in conjuntion on the 15th). And the old hunter is hanging out there in the southern sky. Northern lights? No northern lights. But what about the solar storms? I dunno. No northern lights.

It is late and I am taaaarrrred. We had dinner with npJane and I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to hang out with her somewhere besides a horsepittal. Back in the dark days of January, when I was luxury camping at the Squatter’s Paradise and the GG decided he needed to head back to the Planet and spend some time at work, npJane drove our Ninja up and hung around with me. She was the perfect companion during that time, able to entertain herself and go with the flow. She found deliciously bad TV shows and took the Frog Hopper on grokkery/whine runs to the Supervalu at the bottom of the hill. And then there were afternoons when we would be sitting in the hoosegow reading (each of us on our own device) and giggling about the stupid stuff the Planet Ann Arbor council was dreaming up now. Who says that all these internet devices make for social isolation? She ended up being stuck up there for a week, which probably wasn’t what she planned but before it was all over, Uber Kayak Woman was with us too and the GG was back and the Grinch would come over in the evenings and we were all whooping it up making good times happen during dreadful circumstances.

Of course you know that the time I took off on my skis to the schoolyard, everybody else mobilized in short order and followed me over there and marveled at The Rion in the southern sky and the dippers to the north. The Great Lake State is at its most beautiful on a cold, clear winter evening after a snow, when the stars are out.

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