Orion and I go back more than four decades – making him my oldest friend. I looked up at the Greek hunter with wild-eyed fascination as a child. I couldn’t easily spot other constellations but I could always find him.
He took on a more spiritual role in my life during my college years at the University of Georgia. I’ve struggled with formal religion and churches, but nature – whether it be the trees on the ground or the stars in the sky — has always been where I’ve found the divine. I put glow-in-the-dark star stickers in Orion’s form above my bed in my college dorm room to serve as a portal through which I could communicate with that force every night.
My bond with nature and what I often refer to as “the great spirit” grew even tighter when I moved to Alaska after college: I don’t believe a person can set foot in Alaska and not come away believing in something greater than himself. There are intensities of color and a wildness of life that just don’t exist anywhere else. I watched moose step right over Volkswagens, heard wolves howl through the night, felt the chill of glacial blue waters caress my skin, followed bear tracks with Athabascan Indians, and stood so close to Orion and the dancing blues and greens of the aurora borealis that I could almost touch them. When I wasn’t outside experiencing nature, I was pouring over the pages of my dog-eared copy of “Walden” by my life-long mentor and friend, Henry David Thoreau.
As the decades passed and my life’s travels took me to Spain and back to the U.S., Orion was always there for me in good times and in bad. So many of my most beautiful memories seemed to unfold during the months of the year he shined down from above … romantic walks with beautiful women, late nights celebrated with great friends, triumphs personal and professional. The first Siberian husky I rescued from an animal shelter in Georgia? Of course I named him Orion. The choice was just as obvious when I needed a meaningful name and logo for my new antiques, collectibles and estate liquidation company: Orion’s Attic.
It was in part through conversations with Orion and the great spirit that I found my way back to writing this year. Facing another crossroads in my life – trying to determine how I can best be of use to the universe during my remaining years on Earth – Orion guided me back to my two greatest loves: writing, and nature. I even got selected as one of 12 writers to attend the 2020 Orion Magazine Environmental Writers’ Workshop in New York.
My wife and Eye co-publisher, Won-ok Kim, never got to meet canine Orion — but we have made countless memories under the constellation for which he was named. Orion lit up brighter than ever when we came up with the idea for creating the Eye On Sligo Creek website you’re now reading – or perhaps listening to.
We can only hope that he’ll keep blessing our lives, and this site, for many decades to come.