Last Night, Under the Milky Way

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[photo credit: Jim Richardson, National Geographic, 1996-2014]

Took a star map outside and started relearning the night sky. Felt happy when I found Sirius (the star, not the subscription radio service). My grandfather knew all of the constellations, which he would point out during visits to his tiny house on the Gila River Indian Reservation, across the street from Sun Lakes, west of Hwy 87. When I was a boy, Sun Lakes was nothing but alfalfa fields and the night skies were pitch black, across which an infinite array of stars shone from one end of the horizon to the other. As I stood in my suburban Tempe backyard, matching my manmade map to the muted sky overhead, I realized that today-New Year’s Day-was my grandfather’s birthday. He would have been 102.

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