Perseids

We drove out to the desert, Dan, Julie and I — not far enough perhaps, but away from street lights under the great sky so full of stars. I know there are more, I fill in from memory all those that are visible further away from the fierce glowing of the city. But we were far enough.

More stars than I have seen in a long time. The wide stream of the milky way and the seven sisters a little way above the horizon. Always my favourites, the way they cling together just above the earth. Orion too, stamping across the sky.

The air was heavy with creosote and moisture, fresh and life-smelling after the rain. The sound of crickets and the calling of frogs and toads. A great meteor arced across the sky and we watched its vaporous trail slowly disappear. Only a handful left such trails, none so wide and strong. Almost the way I used to draw them when I was little, a star with childish lines showing its movement from left to right, just like this one.

Funny that they didn’t all move in the same direction, didn’t all cluster in one small section of sky. Didn’t fall at regular intervals. Some were short fragile lines of light, a blink and they were gone. Others felt solid, stretched long. Amazing to think of a comet so far away carrying such  flaming masses of rock and metal along with it, ratcheting around the earth one more time and once again flinging them off in its wake.

Each light a molten mass hurtling through the emptiness of space and burning into nothingness as we watch.

It felt so good be out there, staring up. Clouds crept slowly, feathered around so that the sky felt curved, like a bowl full of stars. The clouds spread thin, ragged, flattening the sky through their framing. It felt as though I were staring up through water.

The occasional sounds of laughter from a house party, getting high and watching the pretty lights. Rumbling of cars.

A brief staccato of barks and a howls from towards the foothills. A very distant howl far to the southeast. I wonder if the coyotes know the stars are falling.

A fluttering of moths against my face.

Two bats.

It felt good to feel small, part of this bigger thing. Felt good to connect with others, sky-watchers, across space and through time.

I wished many things…

 

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