About six years ago I was traveling around the country in a touring show produced by the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. We went to 41 states in eight months.
In November 2001, I found myself in a seaside hotel in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Hearing that the Leonid meteor shower that year was likely to put on its most spectacular show for decades, I got myself out of bed at 3 am, dragged a hotel bedspread down to the beach with me and laid in the sand to watch. The Leonids did not disappoint.
As I laid there in the dark and cold, my cellphone pressed to my ear, I shared the experience with Lisa as she reclined on the hood of the car a thousand miles away in central Connecticut. As it turns out I got the better show, looking out over the ocean on a cloudless, moonless night, the meteorites went streaking by one after another. I stopped counting at 300.
Yesterday I heard there would be particularly good viewing of the Perseid meteor shower after midnight. I thought about the possibility of going up on the roof of our building to see what I could see but quickly abandoned the idea since medications and fatigue tend to drive me to bed fairly early these days and I don't do well in the cold.
Just after the sun went down, though, I was kicking a sack of laundry down our back stairs and happened to look up at the sky already filling with stars and watched as a long, lingering greenish streak filled half the visible sky in front of me. It was so unexpected and perfect, it felt like a gift. Now I don't feel like I missed a thing last night. That single shooting star was all I needed.
I'm never going to give up trying to get up on that roof, but if I can't make it sometimes at least I know I can enjoy whatever I do get.
(Really, I did not set out to write a parable here. In fact, as I re-read this it makes me feel a little like I'm channeling Garrison Keillor... I think I need to go take a shower now.)
(Lisa here...since Robb and I don't have any photos of the night sky, I was inspired to look for celestial maps which lead, in turn, to the images made by master collage artist Joseph Cornell. It was only as I was scouring the internet, that I noticed that the three themes Robb assigned to this blog entry -- astronomy, hotels and sand -- are three major themes of Cornell's work. How delightfully fitting.)