Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cloudy Nights and Meteors

Somewhere, above the clouds, thousands of tiny, ephemeral bolts of light are streaking across the sky, and I can't see them because of the clouds.

I've never successfully photographed a meteor or a starscape.
Enjoy these random photographs instead.

I am in love with meteor showers: spreading out a blanket on a dark night, lying on your back, or with your head on someone's chest. You can hear only yourselves breathing - the soundtrack to a perfect summer evening. When suddenly, a flash darts across the sky. You nearly blinked; you nearly missed it.

And they keep dancing, radiating from a single point in the northeastern sky, each one holding a wish.

Last year, I sat for hours on the shores of Lake Ontario, watching each piece of ice and debris burn up as it entered our volatile atmosphere. This year, the cloudy nights have prevented me from seeing even a single shooting star.

I'm not sure where this love affair began. Maybe it was all those summers at Girl Scout camp, where we'd stargaze in the middle of the field. Even on normal nights you'd catch a glimpse of a few meteors, and you'd close your eyes and wish, and you'd wonder if you were the only one who saw that particular flash.

Maybe it's from all the years living in a place where you learn not to take a single clear night or sunny day for granted, a place where the sunshine is so rare we joke of its non-existence.

Maybe it's just because they feel so magical and quick, and you really have to be paying attention to notice them.

Maybe it's how they remind you that you're just on a spaceship, traveling around a star, passing through the orbits of other celestial bodies. They remind you how small you really are.

This might be the last meteor shower I ever miss. I might be moving to a place where clouds are the rare weather we always appreciate. In the desert, there are so many stars: shooting and still.

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