Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stargazing

I look forward to the Perseids every year, and this is one of the times that I love living in a tiny town. You don't realize the extent of light pollution until you're away from it. You forget how dark night time really is until you're out of the city. You don't really appreciate it until you've driven from one side of a small town to the other in five minutes and can see the sky light up and then just as quickly fade to blackness.

You forget stars when there is no darkness to set them off. Cities have forgotten what a compromise was made in trading true dark and starlight for mere shadows. Tonight, it's easy to set aside the recent fever to be in a real city with culture, entertainment, shopping, better jobs, higher incomes and greater conveniences for one of the real treasures of country life.

Tomorrow morning, in the pre-dawn hours, I'll take a quilt out to the yard. I'll probably set it out by the crape myrtle and then lie myself down to look up at the heavens. It's always a moment of awe for me when I catch such quick burning, flashy beauty. Out on my quilt, it will feel like I'm alone in the world except for the distant sound of small town highway traffic. But that's what also makes it a moment of connection, because I know others are out there, looking for these same bits of debris as well.

I always wonder who else I know will be out looking at these annual meteor showers. I'll picture one friend smoking a cigarette on the deck she built by herself. Another will be on his roof, wrapped in a blanket because nights are still chilly in his hometown. Another will float in her pool with her ears underwater while she watches. I wonder who'll be doing this on a beach, on a mountain, from a boat, and I wonder what time it will be where they are. I know that it will be wonder that unites us all, whether we're there for the science, the beauty, or the sense of the numinous meteors seem to bring.

If you're going out to watch the Perseids tonight, leave a comment telling me where you'll be. It doesn't have to include a place name, but just a simple "on my front porch" or "in my son's tree house" would be great.

Perseids

5 Comments:

Blogger Loz said...

Sounds wonderful but in the Southern Hemisphere I will have to settle for the Southern Cross

August 12, 2007 5:08 AM  
Blogger ~~Kath~~ said...

I'll be watching from my pool in Phoenix. I've also wondered as you have ... who else is watching?
~~Kath~~

August 12, 2007 10:05 AM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

I'll be watching from my '99 VW Cabrio, which I'll drive to someplace as dark as possible. I love meteor showers...

:)

August 12, 2007 11:59 PM  
Blogger ~~Kath~~ said...

The "Show" was disappointing for me. Overcast/cloudy here in Phoenix, and I haven't seen a thing. I feel like I missed out! Hope your showing was better!
~~Kath~~

August 13, 2007 7:16 AM  
Blogger redsneakz said...

I never manage to be on vacation during the Perseids, sadly enough. I am envious.

August 16, 2007 11:17 AM  

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