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I woke early this morning, before any hint of dawn. The air was clear and cool, the stars burning clear and bright. As I stepped out of my kitchen door, there was Orion, striding high in the sky, with Sirius trailing after. I greeted him, to start the new day.

Orion has been my special friend since the time, many decades ago in Connecticut, my stepfather taught me how to perceive him. In college in California, I took an astronomy class (de rigueur for freshmen) and there was Orion, still high in the sky in autumn.

On our long trip to New Delhi from New York (with a stopover in Rome), I found myself thinking, "What am I doing? The Peace Corps? Where am I?" I felt lost and alone and a bit frightened as well as excited. As the train from New Delhi to Bangalore lumbered through the dark Indian night, I lay my head back on the seat to nap--and there, outside the smudged train window walked Orion, master of the autumnal night sky.

I wasn't lost at all. I was still on Earth, on my way to a new adventure and if I felt disoriented at any time, all I had to do was look up at night and there was Orion and his dog Sirius.

As he was this morning, still master of the hunt, striding, striding.

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