Last night, Carlos was barking his head off over, from the sounds of it, a bear or mountain lion, but from appearances, a squirrel. I let him out on the back deck and followed him out because, of course, my first instinct is to see if it really might be something big and dangerous.
We stood together on the deck, him staring into the woods, me trying to figure out what he was staring out. A glass of red wine in my hand, plans for dinner in my head (chicken tortilla soup) and the awareness that once the dog quit barking it was a still evening with perfect temperatures. I was overcome with the feeling of contentment. Happiness at being in my cabin in the woods, working at a job that I (mostly) enjoy, with friends within walking distance. All was right with the world.
No bears, just squirrels.
I came in to a text from friend Martha letting me know there would be a meteor shower overnight. Nothing I love better than a big celestial display. The Orionids, crumbs from Halley's Comet, would be entering our atmosphere and streaking across the sky.
Because of the bright, almost full, moon the best viewing time would be EARLY, some time between 4:00am and 6:00am. I didn't set my alarm but awoke automatically at 3:45am. Dressing in the dark (this morning I realized I had been wearing two different color Uggs) I slipped into boots, a sweater, a down jacket and grabbed some blankets. A quick check outside showed the moon was just about to dip behind the mountains, but it was still a little bright. Since tortilla soup had been my dinner, I was hungry. A bagel made in the dark, quickly eaten, constituted "first breakfast".
Back outside, the rocker and tree stump foot stool pulled out into the yard, blankets under me and over me...I settled in.
Three streaks of light flew across the sky, all within a minute of each other. They were so quick and so close together I forgot to make a wish.
I waited, in the dark, listening for Carlos to come back...of course he had run off into the night as soon as I let him out. That dog is not afraid of anything. More streaks across the black. Wishes made.
Eventually the dog came back. The clouds were starting to gather and the flashes were less frequent. I bargained with myself...one more and then I'll go in. A couple more little streaks and the cold was starting to get to me. I waited for the best last one.
At 5:00am I came back inside. The thermometer registered 33º. Probably saw ten to twelve shooting stars in the hour I was outside. Not a spectacular display but then I realized how many YEARS went by living in Texas, light pollution everywhere, where I did not see stars, much less stars flying across the blackened sky.
And I felt it again.
I am in a wonderful place.
My night sky, on a cloud free night.
I marvel at what I can see and wonder just what the Native Americans and early Pioneers must have thought, being surrounded here in the West with the vast black night sky. It amazes me that I am seeing what they once saw. You can look out of your window tonight and see the same moon that I see, the same moon that our ancestors saw. We are all connected under the same sky.
The Colorado sky insists on showing off.
Some other sky posts here and here and here.