His arrival means that for good or ill, ready or not, summer is really and truly over and for the next six months he's going to be my constant riding companion. He's a good guy, overall, Orion. Doesn't talk much, but is always there watching with his sword at the ready.
More than anything, it is just nice to see the stars again. It's a strange thing - I clearly remember times camping in the Badlands of South Dakota and laying on the ground seeing what looked like the entire Milky Way while sweating from the heat and humidity. But in Alaska the summer means that the stars disappear for half the year and while they are gone you don't really think about them much until they come back, then you get this strange heart-sick nostalgia, wishing to hell you could follow both the summer and winter constellations, that you could lay out on your lawn in shorts and a tee-shirt and watch meteor showers with sweat dripping down your face.
Seeing the stars also means that the cold is coming, along with some amazing sunrises over the mountains to the east of my office building. The daily cycles of the sun rising and setting are so often taken for granted, but when you go half the year without really seeing them, it takes a toll. In the summer, particularly on weekends it is not unusual for us to sit down to dinner at 9 at night and not go to bed until 2 or after. You just lose track of time when the sun is always up.
In the winter it all reverses and you tend to sink into yourself a bit as the dark falls down and the light becomes tinged ice blue when the sun is out. You pay attention to sun rise and sunset, because, well you're awake when they happen and when sunrise happens at 10:30 AM, it's kinda strange feeling.
Today's sunrise was amazing. Heck, having clear blue skies after having rain for so long, feels amazing. I love it. Maybe I'll have to cut out early and head to the valley, watch the kids race their final XC race of the season, and then go for a bike ride. Just maybe.