One of my favorite annual events was this week – the Perseid Meteor Shower, which shows up every August. And, as always, I set my alarm for the wee hours of the morning in order to watch for the shooting stars it always brings. A bright, full moon made it difficult to see much of anything earlier in the evening, so prime viewing time was much later – closer to the next morning than the night before.

For two nights in a row, I got out of bed at 4 a.m. and slipped outside, pulling a patio chair to the middle of the deck so I could lean back and get the fullest view of the sky. I also took one piece of equipment outside with me – a long, strong stick. We’ve recently seen a fox on our front steps, and opossum on the deck in the back, so I didn’t want to go out totally unarmed. The possibility of critters showing up didn’t scare me away from my meteor watch, but it did make me more attentive to what might be going on around me here on earth, not just up in the sky.

My outings were successful. On each night, I stayed out for only about half an hour, but it was long enough to catch sight of seven or eight shooting stars each night. Some were just quick bursts of light, others shot across the sky, giving me several full seconds to enjoy their journey.

I also spent part of the time – as I always do – marveling at the majesty of the night sky, pondering things like infinity and eternity, and talking to God. It’s hard not to feel God’s presence whenever I’m staring up at a starry sky. And it relaxes me more than I can say. When I go back into the house, I never have any trouble falling back asleep.

The Perseid shower is over for another year. But I haven’t yet lost that feeling of calm, quiet serenity that comes over me when I spend a bit of time outdoors in the middle of the night, staring up at the sky. And now that I think about it, that’s something I would probably benefit from doing more often – not just when the Perseids come to town.

August 16, 2019
©Betty Liedtke, 2019

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