November 19, 2002

Skywatch

Yes, I got up, got dressed in every piece of clothing I could lift and carry, and stood outside in the dark for a half-hour this morning with my neck craned overhead, spinning slowly in circles so as to see the whole show above me. My toes are still numb, and I need to find a good physical therapist to do some mobilization on my stiff sky-watchers neck. Was it worth it? Yes indeedy.

What with the setting full moon and the pervasive eastern moisture in the predawn air, dark was a relative term. But it was dark enough. In 30 minutes, I may have seen 200 meteors. Most were zips at the edge of vision. Some were indeed spectacular, lighting up the valley in less than a blink, like a photographic flash; some leaving persistent trails across the sky in the way an artist would dash a perfectly straight line on black canvas with a luminscent pale blue, fine-tipped brush. One split into two, each fragment sizzling off to die dark death extinguished in our protective shield of air that we seldom acknowledge.

I confess I felt somewhat the ambulance chaser. Give me a show, I demanded for my efforts. Dazzle me with special effects. Entertain me. The Leonid Meteor Storm went on with the show. But before it, and after it, with one spectator bundled against the cold of the dark side of the planet, there was moonlight and starlight, creek sounds and the stark silhouette of limb against the heavens.

Will I make a habit of bundling up each morning to stand silent under a quiet sky where stars keep their places. No siree-sir. But this morning I have remembered once again what night is like, and cold, and things moving out there beyond our vision and understanding. This, and another cup of coffee, is all any man can ask.


UPDATE: Oh I am impressed, truly. Pasqale DROVE herself to see the Leonids. Literally. Anybody who can get out of their car into the cold dark is a serious seeker. You go, girl!

Posted by fred1st at November 19, 2002 07:04 AM
Comments

Fred, glad you saw them. It was too overcast here. Reference my post for today.

Posted by: sainteros at November 19, 2002 09:17 AM

For a city girl, I had a pretty good viewing ~ which I have naturally blogged up a storm about.

Posted by: Pascale Soleil at November 19, 2002 10:06 AM

Pasqale,

I'm proud of you! You made more of an effort to experience this wonder than I did. Not many people these days are willing to be non-passively entertained and educated in the COLD AND DARK!

Lazy and dull it is that we have become, grasshopper.

Posted by: fredf at November 19, 2002 10:23 AM

*G* Hello Fred,
Yep, I had the kids up, and it was a GREAT Show! Thanks for the heads up, if you hadn't "blogged" about them, I (and the kids) would have missed it.

Posted by: gl at November 19, 2002 12:15 PM

Lucky you! It's too bright here.

Posted by: Anna at November 19, 2002 08:23 PM

I HAD to drive to see the show, too much lights. After an hour (and after my feet went numb) I went home, having seen over 100 good shots.

Posted by: Dave W. at November 19, 2002 10:03 PM

There was supposed to be at least some activity here around midnight, so I set the alarm and got up, but couldn't see anything. Kitty got up at 5:00 but by that time the clouds had moved in. Drat!

Posted by: Curt at November 20, 2002 12:48 PM

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