Scorpius Rising

Day 006 – July 28, 2011

Tonight was a night out. We had been invited to a soiree by the O’Ryans (who you may remember from their previous appearances on Sin Polaris such as here and here) at their house. Not only would this be an opportunity to sample some fine cuisine, but it would be a chance to meet some new people. Some of these folk we would meet were actually newer to Lima than us (making us the veterans) and some could count their stay in Peru in terms of years. For that latter group, I would spend a fair amount of time quizzing them about places to see (Machu Pichu was the #1 answer, but I also heard about other places such as Caral and Pachacamac), the cloudy winter weather, and the horrors of traffic (one story involved a T-bone accident).

At one moment at the party, when I wasn’t receiving the latest information about life in Lima, I stepped out into the backyard, into the cool night, and looked up. On this night, the astronomical deities were with me as the clouds decided to visit Iquitos and I was able to see some stars.

Having had a telescope since I was thirteen, I am fascinated by the starry sky and can identify most of the major constellations. Given this time of the calendar year, I knew that the constellation Scorpius would be in the southern portion of the sky. I scanned the lower portion of the southern horizon to find the tell-tale star of the Scorpion, the crimson Antares.

However, I could not find it.

I had seen this eighth sign of the zodiac at our house before we left the States, so I knew where to look, but I was beginning to feel at sea because I simply could not find it.

This inability to locate a known guidepost was nearly the last straw that broke the proverbial camel that was my sanity. Yes, the preceding statement can be qualified as hyperbole, but let me provide you with the following description of my situation and you can judge.

Here I was in a country where I did not speak the language with its corresponding side effect of not being able to make myself understood (examples reside here and here).

Here I was in a foreign location and out of a job for the first time in over a decade.

Here I was in a place far removed from friends and family (Facebook, emails, and Skype only take you so far).

Six days without the known reassuring comforts of langauge, work, and a network of support, and now even the normally rock-steady heavens themselves decide to pull the rug out from under my feet.

(Deep breath)(In)(Out)(In)(Out)(and Deep Cleansing Breath)

Freaking out at a party is not considered good manners so I tried to gather my wits and figure out where my navigation was off.

Then (duh!) I recalled I was 12 degrees south of Equator and any star that I saw in northern Virginia, which is nearly 39 degrees north in latitude, would now be higher in the Lima sky.

So I looked up and there was the familiar blinking vermillion dot of light that is Antares. Moving my gaze up and to the right brought me to the also-familiar trio of stars that make up the “claws” of the scorpion.

To slightly modify the poem by Robert Browning, I realized that “Scorpius’s in the heavens / All’s right with the world!”

All I needed was a change in my perspective.

I also realized that I had an opportunity here. Being south of the Equator now gave me the chance to see astronomical sights I never could see up north. Celestial objects such as the Large Magellanic Cloud and constellations such as Chamaeleon and Octans were now open to me.

Further rolling down the path of revelations, it struck me that what was also open to me was the opportunity to learn a new language, to explore new avenues for purposeful activity (i.e., writing), to create a vast new network of friends, and to have experiences unknown to me in my Stateside existence.

All I needed was a change in my perspective.


About sinpolaris

sinpolaris is the psuedonym of a guy who likes to write.

Posted on October 14, 2011, in Difference, Peru and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Leland Mackenzie

    Look for Crux! Measure it’s long side four times and go down directly to the horizon and you will find south.

  2. Heartily endorse all those resolutions, especially the writing one. 😉

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