"Orion is a-rising
You can see his stars a-blazing
In the middle of a clear-eyed country sky…"


Those few simple words have been all I could remember of a song that has haunted me since the mid seventies when an elementary school teacher introduced our class to the constellation of Orion through the lyrics of this unforgettable folk song.

In Greek mythology I learned about Orion as the mighty hunter and his pursuit of the seven sisters, the Pleiades. I have always been fascinated by this story. A couple of weeks ago while reading the book of Job, I noticed that God speaks to Job out of whirlwind and says "Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion?" My interest was once again sparked! This past weekend I was able to get away from the city lights and do some star-gazing - there was my friend in all his splendour and mystery.

I have found a great way to find peace of mind is to look at the night sky -  so it is not surprising that with the advent of the internet, one of the first things I searched for was the words to this song. I wasn't successful until last night when I found not only the lyrics and the actual recording of this song but scores of other people who had the same story to tell!

How many hundreds of times in the past 30 some odd years have I stood outside at night, looked up at the stars, found my favourite constellation and sang that stanza?

I am so happy to have found it - all day today the song was playing in my head and as I sit and write this I have actually heard my husband singing it softly!

With permission from James Zimmerman, the composer and singer, following are the lyrics. To order a CD of Zimmerman's music which includes the song "Orion," please e-mail him at jkzim@verizon.net. The proceeds of the sale will go to The Nature Conservancy.

Orion is a-rising
You can see his stars a-blazing
In the middle of a clear-eyed country sky
And it’s never too surprising
That the sky is still amazing
Way out here where nothing hides it from my eyes


And sleeping outside in a bag as a kid
Seemed like the best thing that I ever did
Oh-oh-oh chasing the shadows and the tracks in the snow
Don’t you know?


The Day is getting colder and I really start to wonder
Why they're clouding all our country skies to grey
The world is getting older, you can hear it in the thunder
And the rain might come and chase us all away


And sleeping outside in a bag as a kid
Seemed like the best thing that I ever did
Oh-oh-oh chasing the shadows and the tracks in the snow
Don’t you know?


Well the moon is on the wane
And it looks like it might rain
Maybe snow
How are we to stay here
If there’s no room left to play here
Or to grow? Don’t you know? Don’t you know?



© 1972, 2008 James Zimmerman