That would be Sirius up there, shining in the southern sky in February, bright and, if you look closely or with binoculars, colorfully. It shimmers in blue-white and often picks up other colors as we look at it through Earth’s atmosphere.
The temperature is getting cozy with zero tonight, but I stand in the still winter air nonetheless and stare at the pretty star, the brightest star in the night sky. That means only the sun is a brighter star than Sirius.
Sirius would be easy to find even without its brightness and colors. Orion the Hunter is the guide in this instance. Orion’s belt stars point downward left to Sirius, about eight belts away.
Sirius is the Dog Star, and in India goes by Svana, the dog of the mythical Prince Yudhistira. This is a story of the loyalty of dogs to their master and vice versa.
Prince Yudhistira and his four brothers set out to find the kingdom of heaven, but the prince reached heaven’s gates with only his faithful dog after his brothers one by one abandoned the quest.
The prince was aghast when told his dog Svana could not enter heaven. He told Lord Indra that since he could not forsake his faithful companion, he would instead forsake heaven. It was the exact loyalty that Indra wanted to hear. The prince and his dog were welcomed through the gates of heaven.
Tonight I stare at Sirius with my one dog at my side. My other dog has passed, but I always said that he had the spirit of Sirius because of his loyalty. Through both dogs, I am as fortunate as was Prince Yudhistira with Svana.
Greschner is Rice Lake Chronotype sports editor.