Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The stars came out

After a day of pretty horrendous weather with damaging flooding, the wee hours of this morning are calm, with the starry sky above pretty perfect for viewing the Leonids meteor shower. Which I did. There were some low lying clouds but it was still a good sky show, lying on my little dock, a beach towel between me and the dampness of the boards, a pillow under my head.

Engraving of the 1833 meteor storm
(probably the most intense Leonid meteor shower on record)

 Somewhere I read that the best way to watch a meteor shower is to let your eyes go loose. The only way to understand that is to do it. As you stop directing your concentration, a shift happens, sort of like looking at those pictures designed to work on your optic nerves, showing you patterns that at first glance are invisible. There! A light flashed across the sky, to the far left...a little while longer, and yes! another, to the lower right.Oh, another!

I could feel a slow smile growing on my face, becoming aware that my thoughts had gone as loose as my eyes. Like being on the edge of sleep, your hearing shutting down, your awareness fading, only to be gently jolted back to consciousness by some small thing, I became aware that I wasn't really thinking about anything. That for a few minutes, the hamster wheel slowed and slowed to...nothing and all that existed were my eyes and the starry sky, a feeling for me as powerful as a meteor shower on earth. I'll have to get out there more often. Maybe earlier than the roosters start crowing...

Before the deluge took precedence, I was going to post some photos of the day before. While I could post some pretty dramatic photos of the flooding and resulting damage, I think not. There are enough negative things in the world and since this will be the talk for awhile around here, I'd rather not start the day with it. So here is a reminder that we live in a beautiful place (if man would just keep his hands off of it).

Balance - it's a beautiful thing

Tarpon series


Red tailed hawk high over the cart

Like the meteor shower early this morning, like weed flowers at our feet, we have to keep our eyes loose for the beauty that is out there - over our heads, in front of us at the next step. No, that's not voodoo hoodoo, it's just looking for the better things that ease the way for the rest of it...making life far more than simply bearable.

Have a cleaned up Tuesday; we will!


  1. Our local "eye on the sky" weather guys have told us that our best viewing is after midnight tonight. Except for the light at the farm next door, it is pretty dark around our house. Last night's sky was spectacular with the milky way looking so bright and close you'd think you could have touched it.
    And I'm happy you've all survived the rain!

  2. Huh, after midnight TONIGHT? Interesting. All the info I saw was about after midnight last night. Let us know what happens!

    Yes...we survived. Quite a few of the roads didn't, and the bay is full of flotsam and jetsam and topsoil and mud but we'll all go on to see another glorious day.

  3. That's what our local news said too. I also thought I saw info about last night, but today they are bemoaning the fact that we won't be able to see it because of the cloud cover (and look who's posting from w o r k). Must have been your messed up RSS feed, huh?

  4. Hmm. Well, don't believe them about the clouds until you go out and see. Really!

    As to my messed up RSS feed, yes, let's blame everything on it! Including our roads. I'm in!

  5. There's always the confusion from the date changing at midnight. The Perseids peak after midnight on the 12th of August, so everybody goes to bed early on 8/12 and sets the alarm for midnight and watches a diminished display in the early hours of the 13th.

    About ten years ago, I took my friend John out beyond the city lights to watch the Leonids. John suffers from ankylosing spondelitis, which effectively leaves his Neck and spine paralyzed in a bent over posture. He set up on a thick pile of quilts and sleeping bags as I did in a chaise lawn chair. The fireballs were spectacular, but the piece de resistance came as we were packing up all the stuff to leave. As I closed the rear door of the Trooper, a bright flash cast my shadow, sharply, on the tailgate of the vehicle. I spun around to see the thick fiery tail disappear. Instinctively, John turned his back to me and yelled catch me, which I did so he could look up to see the tail residue across the sky, which lingered for 30 seconds or more. I'll never forget it.

  6. Fabulous story! I could be there...

  7. me too Doug...thanks for sharing..