Gemenids at 4 A.M.
December 14, 2012 by Russ L
The news said that there would be a meteor shower this night, so I crack an eye open, look at the clock, dress, and wake doggie up. (She would have rolled over and gone right back to sleep too.) We go outside. Belle tugs at one of my pants legs trying to get me to play with her; as I take little doddering baby steps down the steep gravel driveway to the field at the bottom of the hill. This while my eyes adjust to the dark, where I can get a clear view of the great night sky. The valley hides the few yard lights of distant neighbors. No moon tonight. (Why do people call it a new moon when you can’t see it?) This makes the night appreciably darker. A few minutes pass as I drink it all in: the North Star, Orion, the Pleiades, the Morning Star, the other constellations, and the Milky Way. Heaven is a big place. Then they begin to fall, interspersing quiet periods of meditation upon the night. I would have missed each one of them if I had blinked. The first meteor is dim… A pack of coyotes yip excitedly in the distance and I hear the sound of my dogs paws as she runs up and down the blacktop, excited to be there, excited to be alive. The next is bright… The navigation lights of a lone jet here, and one way over there, move languidly up among the stars. One falls far away… The cold is bracing. One seems to fall in my back yard… The distant distinctive sound of car tires revolve on some roadway and gears change quietly as an occasional trucker shifts speed. One falls straight down… I continually turn, and search everywhere if I am to see them. The night sky imperceptibly revolves as well. Another flies almost parallel to the Earth, on a journey West. Fleeting.
Life is fleeting. I stop and go back to bed when I realize I am staggering around, drunk with sleep. Somehow a half hour has passed. Life is also good.