August Skies


August is one of my favorite months in this neck of the woods.  The summer days are still long and shooting stars come out to play.  As is clear, stars are the theme for the mantel.

My favorite meteor shower happens mid-August when Perseid tosses handfuls of shooting starts in every direction.  Even with clear nights, we have to travel a bit to get away from the city lights to get the best views.  One year we popped an air mattress in the bed of the truck along with blankets and drove out of town.  What a great view.  Our conversation would  be interrupted with “there’s one” or “over there” with a response of “missed it” or “saw it.”

Clouds are the nemesis when it comes to star gazing and you never know when they are going to spoil the party.

Hubs and I have also tried to catch other celestial events.  One morning we arose at 3:00 AM and carried our deck chairs to the front yard and set them for viewing.  So, we’re wrapped in blankets near the street at 3:00 in the morning….looking up.

A police car drives by very slowly…  We grin and wave.  They slow down more and ask if we were “okay.”  We try to explain how we are waiting for an alignment of three planets in the southern sky.  They just shook their heads and moved on.  We sat there like a couple of kids giggling in our blankets.

One of my favorite memories happened at work years ago, when I taught at an alternative high school.  The science teacher set everything up outside the small school, preparing for students to experience a solar eclipse.  As a nerd, I was very excited to see one with a real scientist narrating what was happening.  The students spilled out of the building and were given safety instructions, etc.  Then clouds filled the skies. Drat. We waited, hoping to see at least a little of the eclipse.  Nothing.  More and more clouds.

“We did all this work and it didn’t happen,” I complained to the science teacher who had worked so hard to set it up.

“Oh, it happened,” he stated.  “We just didn’t see it.”

Somehow that has stayed with me for years.  What a tiny speck I am and how big the universe.  Just because I didn’t see something, it did not keep it from happening.  Of course.  There are celestial actions and reactions that happen all the time.  We just catch a tiny fraction of the beauty.  But when we do, it is indeed a thrill.

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