A quarter of my life I’ve lain here in these rocks and thorns, watching Orion’s cold shoulder wheel through the late autumn sky, or waking a few hours into a summer night to watch the bleary Pleiades ascend.
The great bear circles warily in the north.
A quarter of my life, or more, and thus I’ve known this place longer than any other I’ve thought of as home. I lie awake with this notion for a time. I know each crevice, each crack in the cleft quartz monzonite, have watched the great granite blocks sink slowly into the mineral soil below.
How odd: this is my home as much as any place has been, and mine alone: it is not fraught with memory, or at least not many.
Rain has fallen within the last few hours. The crickets woke to drink, and they are stridulating. A bright light streaks the sky, burns out, and then another.
All of my life collapsed in upon itself in those years, until what little bit of core I had showed plain.
This place seemed permanent at first, as permanent as Orion, I thought, Orion walking his dog in perpetuity in the cold southern sky, before the fires washed over the desert and disabused me. Even Orion changes. In the years I have watched him here, his red giant — Betelgeuse — has shrunk significantly, collapsing toward a fusing core growing rich in nickel and iron.
Come the culmination, perhaps with my eyes still here to be dazzled, a million times this moonlight will sear the night sky.