Maybe my ignorance makes me exaggerate. I don’t often study the constellations without the influence of suburban light pollution. There must be deserts and mountains where you wouldn’t have to reach for the stars because they’d already be next to you.
But I took what I could get – orange streetlights and all – and considered it a fine way to start the day.
I would’ve mentioned Orion to Bix, the Mississippi mudhound, but he was focused on a different light. Since he was a puppy, Bix has been fascinated by the red dot of a laser beam.
It’s hard to blame him. When I learned laser pointers existed, I had to have one. They’re not “Star Wars” approved, but I get a thrill knowing I own a real laser.
(I just pointed to myself and said, “Geek,” so you don’t have to.)
I tried to get various cats interested. I’m told some go crazy for them, but I’ve had limited success.
Bix, on the other hand, is a raving fan.
He and I usually have wide-ranging conversations during our walks. He’s good for a zinger, and he can wax poetic about squirrels and dead things he’s found.
He once gave a heartfelt lecture on the art of chasing ball that would’ve made you wish your mouth could open wider so you could catch one for yourself.
There’s not much talking when the laser beam comes out.
My cousin John Morris, a veterinarian and fashion model from Saltillo, told me some dogs take love of laser beam to extremes.
One dog clawed its way through a wall to get at the red dot, which it couldn’t have “gotten,” anyway.
That cautionary tale scared me into limiting Bix’s beam usage to outside the house.
I’ve asked Bix to explain the appeal, but he couldn’t do it. I suspect the red dot represents the unattainable ideal.
Maybe it’s a holdover from evolution, or a memory from a past life, or a gift from the heavens. You pick.
Bix, the beam and I do an odd ballet. He expects the beam to be at the right place at the right time.
If I forget, he lets me know, but it’s nothing so polite as “Excuse me, Boss, you’re forgetting something.” Rather, he gives one part bark, one part growl and one part whine.
I wouldn’t take that tone from my kids unless they were coughing up or spewing out bodily fluids.
I probably overlook it from Bix because I enjoy the game as much as he does.
The beam’s also good for keeping him mostly quiet, so I can enjoy Orion the Hunter and whatever obscure thoughts the oh-so-close stars inspire.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.