Did I ever tell you how much I love gazing up at the stars? Maybe love isn’t strong enough of a word, but when I can go out in the middle of nowhere, away from crowds, away from lights, and city noise… Where I can be immersed in the stillness and silence and look up to see a cacophony of little twinkling lights that are billions and billions of miles away…THAT is one of my happy places.
Some might say that it’s because I was born at night, but I don’t think that’s the reason. See, I grew up outside the city limits of a small town for the majority of my childhood. There were a few houses, but we were surrounded by sheep farm on the back side of the lot and then across the yard was a large ranch/horse farm. It wasn’t Little House on the Prairie, but it was peaceful. Add to that I’m an adventurous tomboy at heart, so I was CONSTANTLY running around the countryside, partially trespassing on the farm lands to get to Rivendell (which was my secret hideout… I’m a huge LoTR nerd. Are you surprised?), and just having fun. My favorite part of all of that was just going outside and watching the stars.
Fast forward to now and here we are. I live on the outskirts of a fairly decent sized city, with a TON of light pollution. My view of the stars isn’t as nice as it was in my childhood home, but it’s the best one I have so I make due.
Last Thursday night, into Friday morning, was the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower and I really, REALLY wanted to watch it. I even saved up my spoons! Mr. Chaos reluctantly agreed, and we ventured off into the country to find a dark, quiet place to lay back on the trunk of our car and watch the stars.
My god, it was peaceful. The hour and a half we spent out there made me realize how much I truly missed the stillness of the country and the stars. I think part of me will always wish I was back out in the country, staring up at the stars almost every night. There is a kind of peace that just comes along with the stillness. A lot of folks think that the country is quiet… but it’s not. Once you let your ears adjust, you can hear all sorts of things. Wild animals, both big and small, rutting around or going for a midnight stroll, the sound of the wind rustling through the trees, crickets and toads singing their nocturnal melodies… it is far from silent.
I took a few photos but mostly my eyes were glued up to the sky, just waiting for a meteor or two to streak across. (…thank god for camera remotes.) The moon was a little less than half full, and the stray cloud made it a bit difficult to watch the sky, unhindered. In the hour and a half, I only managed to snag one brief meteor photo… and yet, while this was the purpose of the whole trip; the whole nostalgia-wrenching experience was worth it.
Supposedly, this year the Perseid Meteor Shower was supposed to be EPIC 180+ meteors per hour during the peak time between Thursday evening and the wee hours of Friday Morning. I am sure there were several more meteors that I didn’t see, either because they were too dim or I just wasn’t looking in the right direction. I “officially” counted about 12 meteors in an hour and a half of watching. Mind you, we weren’t out during the whole “peak” timeframe.
That’s alright. Quality time just sitting on the trunk of the car with Mr. Chaos was worth it.
One day, many years from now, I hope to move back out to the country… or at least further from the city and suburbs to reclaim that sense of belonging. I will always look up at the night sky and wonder if there is anyone up there looking back at me. I will always be that giddy tomboy who finds an immediate sense of peace just watching the stars sparkle and dance across the sky.
One day. I will be able to look up and ponder the stars every night.
Just not yet.