March 5, 2010
Posted by on
When I was growing up, the Plough revolved around me. No, really, it did. For some reason, my parents' garden in Drighlington* was the centre of the easiest recognised constellation around. I had a late-finishing Saturday/weekend job, and when the taxi dropped me off at 1am I used to like to stand in the driveway and look up, and note the position of the Plough above me, revolving but not materially moving, like it was pinned into place somehow by the garage.
I can, even now, only name that one constellation. I try, and I sometimes stay up all night during the Perseid meteor shower only to be thwarted by light pollution because I love the stars, but I still can only pinpoint the Plough. Even in London, with all its street lights and neon, I can look up on clear, cold nights like this and see the stars that call me. Right now, the Plough is upside-down and north-east above my back garden, but I can see it. This is the important point. I'm not sure what I would do if I couldn't pick out the Plough (though I suspect I'll find out in Sydney in around a month's time). But: just to tell you, that the stars are out tonight, and they are bright, and they are calling me home. Wherever that is.
* That's pronounced Driggle-ington, by the way