Today is the day we were to have set off for an island on whose soil we are not supposed to set our American feet. Instead of taking our own bicycles, we bought two second-hand ones which we intended to take to this island and leave there, since the people of the island still live fairly simply and use bicycles. (And that would have saved us from having to get the bicycles back to our point of arrival and pack them up again.) I was looking forward to writing some reports from the Forbidden Island, masking its identity by translating its names – for instance we intended to get to The Terraces, the Valley of the Vines, and the Hundred Fires. None of this will happen – not this month, anyway – since I still can’t quite walk, let alone ride, after my tumble into a ravine eight days ago.
I’m sure you’re completely mystified. As a clue, here is a constellation, one of the smaller and more obscure kind, that is rather similar in shape and angular size to the Forbidden Island and, lying at about the same latitude, passes over it every day.
There may not be another occasion to talk about Vulpecula, the “little fox” constellation – at any rate till summer, because it is in the middle of the summer evening sky. Hey, that’s another reason it’s appropriate: the mystery island is in the tropics. And the names of constellation and island have three letters in common. And in the next constellation to the north of Vulpecula is to be found the vast North America Nebula.