On December 21, I was outside looking for the Great Conjunction. Maybe I saw it, in the southwest, just beyond the half-moon caught in the branches of a tall fir. I saw something bright, yellowy-red, and then I went to get binoculars. When I returned, it was something else that caught my eye: a blurry group of stars suddenly clear in the lenses of my binoculars. How many times have I looked south and not noticed Ursa Minor tipping its bucket over the sky just beyond my house?
The wagon of heaven, in the Babylonian star compendia, observations and divinations appearing about the 12th c. BCE. And yes, it looked more like a wagon to me than a bear. A barrow, like the wheelbarrow in our woodshed, tipped up against the logs.
so much depends
Other names for Ursa Minor: dog’s tail, trail of light.
Tonight I will be the woman in her nightdress, bare-footed, on the deck under stars, with binoculars focused on the heavens. Send me your star charts, send me your old stories, send me straight back to bed where someone warm waits for me, starry-eyed.
Maybe I saw the meteor shower in Ursa Minor, a blur of starry light tipped from a wagon high above my house on the longest night.
3 thoughts on “lines for the wagon of heaven”
1. This beautiful post is everything I love about your writing! 2. There is no 2 (see 1). Happy stargazing, happy holidays!
Leslie, you are an ideal reader. I think of how much we take on faith with stars–that there are narrative lines, perhaps unseen, connecting them to one another and to the origin stories we need so much. Those (invisible) lines are the ones I’m trying to pay attention to these days. Happy holidays to you too. Snow, warm fire, maybe a glass of something sustaining!
[…] for guidance in her incarnation as Ursa Major, light for the cosmic hunt. A couple of years ago, in December, I focused my binoculars on Ursa Minor, hoping to see the Great Conjunction. Did I? Maybe. But I […]