For years I thought the name of this constellation was O'Brien, courtesy of my father's puckish sense of humor. But then he also told me the names of the stars that mattered: Rigel, Betelgeuse and Sirius at Orion's heel, the brightest star in the sky.
One of my favorite parts of the late fall is that Orion is up before I go to bed. Coming home in the dark and the cold it is nice to see him striding across the sky over the garage, Sirius at heel.
I'm sure I've said before I feel lucky to see a crow, and then slightly foolish because it is easy to see a crow, and then pleased with myself for being easy to please. It is nice to have a feeling of friendship with an incredibly common bird, especially if they keep improving their reputation for intelligence.
I want to take space to wish my beloved friend Kate a happy birthday. She's known me since I was young and stupid, and she was merely young, and we've watched (and helped and sympathized and baked for) each other for decades now and each other's children too, and I am very much looking forward to celebrating many, many more birthdays of hers.
Another fossil from the ones people gave me for Christmas last year.
The whirl of the spiral, and the shine of the shell are hypnotic.
I studied geology as an undergraduate, lo these many many years ago. I liked life, but blood and guts made me queasy, so clearly what was required was ossified life! Fossils were the perfect form of life for me to study; not squishy, not smelly, mostly rock, and yet still retaining the flourishes that life is famous for. It all made me very happy, until I graduated into the Reagan budget cuts, and only oil companies were hiring geologists. So I went to grad school and studied maps instead, and had another, different happy life instead. But fossils still make me absurdly happy.
Trilobites are entirely extinct, even though pill bugs look like them. It was a great parenting moment when Alice looked at the scuttling pillbugs under the climbing thing in the backyard and asked if they were trilobites. Sadly, no, but good guess.
Yesterday's circle was made but flickr was misbehaving, so you'll have to look for it there.
A wild turkey, for the day after Thanksgiving. I made a circle yesterday too, but it was small and silly, and if you want to see it you have to go find it on Flickr.
I like moths in the abstract, and out of doors. I like their feathery antenna, and the soft and discreet colors many of them sport, and I sympathize with their summer night yearning at the moon and various lightbulbs. When they eat my yarn, or nest in the flour I get upset. But mostly I like them. They are the insect version of owls.
I seem to have slipped sideways from things that are known psychopomps, beings that escort souls after death, to things that make me feel lucky or happy.
There are eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism. I'm closer to being Buddhist than anything else, but I found I needed different symbols.
When Alice could just barely talk, we were walking in town and playing at the playground when a ladybug landed on her hand. She stared at it, transfixed as it crawled across her palm, and then flew away. When we got home, she sat on her father and told him, with hand gestures:
Ladybug! Tickle my hand. Flew away! Outside.
So ladybugs are favorites of mine.
Friday I finished the little cephalopod (octopus).
Then I took two other people's children to MIT to go to a weekend full of classes. Students and grad students at MIT were offering classes in everything joyfully geeky. There were a dozen different programming language classes, philosophy, Calvinball, making chain mail (above), global finance, voting systems and another dozen languages. Each class went on for one or two hours. The kids were exhausted at the end, but cheerful. For the adults it is fine if the kids can be left on their own to find food and friends in between classes. If one has to wait around, it strongly resembles waiting in an airport, except the Wifi is amazing. This year I spent less airport time, and got to putter around Harvard Square catching up with a friend from High School that I hadn't seen since, well, high school.
I realized some of these are my own personal psychopomps – the red efts are preludes of spring. Finding one always makes me happy – they are such good colors, and so elegant.
I know the little bird looks really odd – it had an odd history. At Family Camp several years ago, someone else's child drew this bird, and I loved it. So in woodshop, I made a wooden model of it. I've kept it on the windowsill for the last several years, and every time I look at it, I feel slightly off balance, figuring out which legs it is standing on. It helps me think a little bit sideways.
In Korea and China a three legged bird represents the sun and power.