I had heard on CBC radio that there was to be a meteor shower last night. Despite my good intentions to remember and perhaps drive out to the country to watch it, I didn't remember until it was late and I was performing my nightly ritual of checking that all the doors and windows were locked for the night before I went to bed. Not sure if it was even clear enough to see anything, I cupped my hands against the cool glass of the back yard's sliding door and peered out.
I was immediately rewarded with the blaze of a shooting star across the sky. Excited that it was still going on and conditions were clear, I raced around downstairs, finishing my "security" rounds, turning off lights and grabbing a blanket from the couch. I eased out of the screen door, careful not to let a very disappointed Ginger-cat squirt out into the night air with me.
The grass was cool and dew-wet. I wrapped myself in the blanket, more for protection from the whining mosquitoes than anything, and lay back on the grass, looking expectantly up. For long moments, there was a good deal of nothing in the sky, and annoyed by the mosquitoes pestering my face, I almost went inside immediately.
Then I laughed at myself. Here I am, positioned to watch one of the great natural wonders of the universe, and I want it delivered to me like a Fox news soundbite... condensed into 30 seconds or less, thank-you-very-much, so that I can return to my self-obsessed life as regularly scheduled. The guest on CBC said that the light from these meteors burning reaches us 43 minutes after they have already expired in the atmosphere... the least I can do is grant these celestial travellers more than a minute of my time. I laid back in the grass, now a little more stoic about the insects and dampness. I breathed in the cooling air, redolent of smells from my garden; there a touch of wet garlic; here a waft of cilantro.
I was soon rewarded with a magical streak of light that travelled directly above me. More time passed, and then another graced my vision. Time slowed, the mosquitoes seemed to disappear, and I existed simply to watch the night sky; the thrill of witnessing the meteors had me in a spell. I made deals with myself that I'll wait until I see one more, and then I'll go in... but that one more was always so incredible it kept me there for just one more again.
Finally, after witnessing 8 or 9 meteors, I saw one so bright and glorious that I involuntarily sucked in my breath in awe as it raced across the sky. A shiver went down my spine, tears came to my eyes, and I knew that it was the one I had been waiting to see. Slowly, reluctantly, but concious of the lateness of the hour and my upcoming exam in the morning, I got to my feet and went inside. As I closed the patio door, I saw one last shooting star streak the sky, as if a wave goodbye. Though I peered out windows intently as I readied myself for bed, I saw no more.