For the most part, I viewed the annual Perseid Meteor Shower alone in my back yard from the hours of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Aug. 12/13. My son and husband joined me off and on throughout the night and early morning; we even took a stargazing swim during the night.
The night was dark and perfectly clear, the stars were out and shining beautifully. My chair in the backyard had a clear, unobstructed view of the sky, and I was ready to be impressed. For the first hour, I did not see any of the blink-of-an-eye streaks similar to the prior meteor showers I have seen. Then, finally, at about 12:30 a.m., I saw two “shooting stars” in quick succession. I’ll admit, it gave me a tiny thrill. I felt as though I were the only one seeing this unique celestial event.
The sky remained pretty uneventful for the next hour or so, and, at 3:00 a.m., my husband got the idea that we should go swimming. We headed out to the pool with our oldest son, Chris, who wanted to view the meteor shower for himself. I floated on my back in the pool, watching the stars. My husband saw one meteor streak by, but missed about 15 others while we were swimming because he was always looking in the wrong direction! Chris got to see his first and was pretty impressed, though he did wonder why it didn’t last longer, which sparked a conversation about the history of the Perseid shower. I enjoyed being able to tell him something he didn’t already know, especially since he didn’t fall for my “look, it’s a UFO!” trick.
We came in and dried off and I resumed my post in my backyard chair. For the first time in over a year, I was alone and able to just “be.” It was an hour and a half of my engine being turned off, instead of being on constant idle. The constant buzz in my head stopped for once, and I actually heard crickets chirping, and almost let out a pretty loud shriek when a moth landed on my toe (did I mention it was dark?). Each time I looked up at the sky, I saw more stars than the last time I looked. I did see about 30 more meteorites make their paths across the sky, but it didn’t compare in size, number, speed, or duration to past meteorite showers I’ve viewed. I was a little disappointed with the show, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless.
Sitting under the stars and an open sky make you stop to think just how large the universe it. If you are a religious person, it can be an awe-inspiring, spiritual event. I happened to turn my time star-gazing into a time of meditation and contemplation, and realized just how small my problems are, even though they seem vast and insurmountable. I took the time to talk to God, and just enjoyed being worry-free for a little while. Even though I didn’t get to see hundreds of meteorites light up the sky like sparklers, I was able to talk to my heavenly father and feel some inner peace for the first time in months.