Outside, Overhead

Outside this morning with Blue, starlight fading as morninglight seeps into the sky, I look up to the south. Three still stars stand in a short line. Orion. Not three separate stars, but a single line, sharply defined. Lesser stars around the line construe a constellation that surrounds what becomes a belt. But this morning, standing in the still dark light, bitter coffee steaming in my hand, I’m not in the mood for received myth. Orion, I say. I speak the open and closed letters, strip them of meaning beyond sound and form. I stare at the bright line, a good line, three stars joined by proximity and by rule. Any two points form a straight line. Three adjacent points, if not triangular, these three stars, for instance, are more perfectly straight—even, I think as I eye them, if strict rule would exclude the middle star from the straight line. It is a perfect image of a short line, a short line powerful in its trinity. Before the coffee is gone, before Blue reappears from the oak grove, the starline gives way to the indistinct light of dawn.

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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2 Responses to Outside, Overhead

  1. flowerville says:

    a line in its trinity, i like that. the perfectionism of the line and three is more perfect than two. then – multiplicity is more perfect than singularity/perfectionism defined by dominance of the singular (two endstars),….and adding in the third not entirely fitting star to that perfect line, that’s a more generous & richer way of thinking perfectionism….
    hope blue suffering not too much from his mouthoperation.


  2. Scott Abbott says:

    thanks for the thoughtful response. i was wondering if i perhaps had wandered off into a dead end. your comment reassures me.
    blue’s tongue hangs out, not constrained by that left, lower canine tooth. but he’s not self-conscious in the least and, most importantly, seems as healthy as his advancing age allows.


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