Friday, August 13, 2010

August 13: Perseids

The Perseid meteor shower peaks today. This summer shower always carries a festive connotation for me, because it coincides with my friend Woody's birthday. Woody and I used to work at a writers conference in Vermont together every August, the dates of which always overlapped with his birthday. However we chose to celebrate (and being writers, we were creative--think pinatas, night swimming, tequila), the evening was never complete without a viewing of the meteor shower from some strategic point on the conference's rural campus. I don't think there's a better place to watch falling stars than one of the Bread Loaf hayfields surrounded by the profound dark of the Green Mountain National Forest. Our viewing was often punctuated by the howling of coyotes hunting in the river valley. Their wild yipping and the usually dramatic meteor show seemed the perfect birthday celebration. (As I said in my post two days ago, sometimes when it's your birthday, good things seem to revolve around you.)

After the Red Sox hit their fourth home run against Texas tonight (and their third in a row!), it seemed safe to leave the game for a few minutes to step out back and see if the sky was clear. It was, so I decided to stay out long enough to see one falling star. Perseus rises directly over our roof, so I had an unobstructed view. What I at first thought was a faint haze was, I realized when my eyes had adjusted, the Milky Way. My celestial observations were accompanied by an acoustic guitar sing-along on our neighbors' back porch tonight, creating an enjoyable if unusual atmosphere in which to watch the night sky. I was reminded a bit of those past summers at Bread Loaf.

I saw a falling star in less than five minutes and realize now that I should have made a wish on it for the Red Sox: Texas has since responded with three home runs of their own. Friday the 13th does not appear to be our star pitcher Josh Beckett's lucky day. But I'm happy nonetheless and look forward to going out to the back yard to rack up a few more wishes after the game.

Meteor shower:
Perseus tosses out stars,
each pitch a bright wish.

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