It began with a single leaf dropped on a pebbled forest path...
...followed by unsettling revelations at the warehouse store, Costco®
|Hallowe'en?? That's not until the end of October!|
|These arrived at the beginning of July, but are multiplying at a great rate!|
|If I buy this now, I won't be able to find it in December!|
|Start saving now - this humongous doll house will set you back $230!|
and then the need to light the evening lamps just after 8pm. The darkness is coming earlier now.
And while the first notes of the siren song of summer shriek in retail stores and murmur in the trees, the mid-August night sky puts on an it's own august show of her own. The remnants of comet Swift-Tuttle glide overhead in a festival of shooting stars, the annual Perseid meteor shower. Last year's show was out-shone, quite literally, by a super-moon, but this year, this week, there was but a sliver of a new moon to contest the view.
|Last year's super moon rise, August 10/14|
So there I stood out on our deck at 3am this morning, my back pressed against the wall just as my Dad had taught me so many years ago. I'm sure I felt my hand in his as I craned my head upwards, watching and waiting. The experts said this was the best viewing time of all, when up to 100 meteors an hour might streak across the night sky. It was a perfect night for watching the heavens though at 11°C a bit cool. I stayed there for just over 20 minutes, until my body begged for sleep. I saw just three shooting stars, not the twenty or more I had hoped for. I was disappointed but the time spent outside looking up was not wasted. The Milky Way arched overhead, its majesty and mystery on full display. Have a look at this image from NASA.
The night sky is one of the few places left that still holds a profound sense of mystery. One of the joys of living in the rural routes is seeing the sky in all her glorious light. When I look up into that blanket of darkness pin-pricked with twinkling lights I am always awestruck, almost overcome with wonder and uncertainty, reverence and scepticism, amazement and bewilderment. And so it was last night as I waited and watched for the Perseids - I was filled with that same wonder and excitement, fascination and awe; steeped in history and science, silence and my father's handhold.
Though colour may be coming to some tree tops, don't be too quick to write off summer. The meteorologists say it ends in just 18 days, BUT the astronomers say summer does not end until the equinox at 4:22am EDT on September 23rd - that's nearly 6 weeks away!
I'm hanging out with the star gazers. How about you?
©2015 April Hoeller