The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

The other night the Perseid meteor shower was going to be at its peak around 2 am. I love a good meteor shower. I tried to get a couple of friends to join me, and they all sort of looked at me askance.

It made me sad, because I really wasn’t just asking for star-gazing company. I’m about to move across the country, so what I was really saying was, “Come make one last memory with me.” But they all preferred to sleep. Now I know how Jesus felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Well, not really, but you see what I mean.)

So I decided to pursue the Perseid alone. I set my alarm for 1:30 am, and for reasons known only to the clock, it didn’t go off. I woke up at 3 am with a start, and headed out. But that close to dawn, there was no point in driving all the way out beyond the city lights. Oh, who am I kidding? I kind of got the creeps, thinking of sitting there alone in an open field. So I opted for the nearest park that had a northeasterly view.

I’ve actually seen more than one astrological event in this particular park, so I figured it would be a decent enough choice. But I hadn’t been there in years, and I didn’t realize that it had gone through quite a metamorphosis. It used to be a shady idyll with unpaved paths down to a rough shoreline. Now it was a gorgeous  park with wide paved sidewalks, a gazebo, statuary, and lights. Lots and lots of lights. I bet you can see this park from the surface of the moon. So I couldn’t even see stars, let alone meteors. I gave up and went home to bed.

When the Perseid meteor showers roll around next year, I’ll be in a completely different place in the world, physically, emotionally, and financially. I’ve marked my calendar to make them an event. Maybe by then I’ll have a man by my side and it will be a romantic evening. Or maybe I’ll have some more flexible friends. Or I’ll be alone. But that will be okay, too, because I will have moved ahead in my life, I’ll have achieved something, and that is something to celebrate.

Of course, I will be in the Pacific Northwest, so there’s a good possibility that the clouds will obscure the sky. But a girl can dream, can’t she? So check back with me this time next year.

[image credit:]

12 thoughts on “Pursuing the Perseid

  1. Carole Lewis says:

    If it will make you feel less alone, I was out and about at the same time. Alas, I cannot interest family, friends or even Hubby to look Onward and Upward. With the rising of the Super Moon, there I was alone enjoying the splendor. Up until a few years ago, I used to climb out on the roof and see above the trees. Saw a couple Shuttle go by from night launches and a few meteor showers, but age and flexibility have me grounded. No lights out here, but the trees surround us so I have to wait for what ever is up there to come into the few clearings. Still, I love the night sky, and will go it alone, but know there are many more like me… looking up.

    1. That does give me great comfort. 🙂

  2. KerikM says:

    I too am my family’s main astronomer. Not so much into meteors, but planets and lunar eclipses–and there’s nothing like a well-executed moonrise. Here in Cascadia, summers are full of nice weather and your “seeing” is likely to be good this time of year. But light pollution is a problem.
    If you make friends with someone way out in the sticks, you will find that Venus is bright enough to make faint but sharp-edged shadows, and Jupiter will make fuzzy ones–on a moonless night, it will make a dark room noticeably brighter than the other stuff that’s up.

    1. I’m looking forward to next year. 🙂

  3. Naissur says:

    It’s a pity when friends does not separate your passion about observing the night sky. I felt the same when I tried to call my friends to make the first glimpse on Venus. By the way, will you observe the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter this year?

    1. When will it be, Naissur? I wasn’t aware of this. How exciting!

      1. Naissur says:

        It’ll be on Monday morning. The distance between these two planets will be about 0.2 degrees. And the background for this show is M44 cluster in Cancer.

      2. What’s the best time to view it, and what direction should one look? (I’ll be in the Southeastern United States, eastern time zone, for what it’s worth.)

      3. Naissur says:

        Hi! It will be visible right before the sunrise from any place and it doesn’t depend on timezone. I wish you a clear sky!

  4. You might even see the Northern lights

    1. I have always wanted to do that!

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