Tonight at about 8 p.m., my good friend and neighbor, the Queen Bee, called to invite me to join her outside at 11:45. She knows I'm a night owl and someone who's game for new experiences.
She's working on her bucket list and one of the items on that list is to watch a meteor shower. It's a beautiful, clear evening in northern Illinois, without a cloud in the sky. There's some type of bird outside making a wierd and plaintive call so this could prove to be downright spooky. Ok, I've lived out here for 15 years and I've heard howling coyotes and the horrible screams of a rabbit (yes, rabbits SCREAM) but I've never heard anything like this.
A gibbous moon will produce some light in the sky but hopefully we'll be able to see the meteors.
Another neighbor is an amateur astronomer with an impressive telescope. One very cold evening he set up his equipment and treated us to a look at Saturn! He travels around the country to dark sky events. These are astronomy viewing events, basically in the middle of nowhere.
One of the most astonishing things I've ever seen occurred in rural Tennessee. The Farmer and I were visiting my grandmother and were invited down to Bodie and Francis Allen's house for dinner. The evening wore on as we shared food and stories. My cousin drove Grandma home and we stayed on for awhile.
We walked out into the clear night air and started down the long driveway to the road. As we turned to head towards my grandmother's we passed a point where the Allen's farm light was blocked from our sight. It was so dark we were afraid of wandering off the road and into one of the deep hollows on each side.
And it was then that our eyes adjusted to the darkness. And we looked up. The sight stopped us dead in our tracks and neither one of use had words. The Milky Way spread out across the night sky as if God had cast a net of fireflies. It was spectacular in every sense. The stillness and the power presented in a natural tableau. We felt very small and insignificant and yet blessed to be witness to such a display.
It was many years ago, before the Farmer and I were married. The only thing that could compare was the night the Aurora Borealis filled the skies above our heads. We drove the old truck out to Swanberg Road and laid on the hood for an hour or more, marveling at the show.
I'm using Blogger's option to post this at 2 a.m. so that you have something to read in the morning. If Queen Bee and I are successful we'll stay late into the night and I'll be sleeping in late.
Do you live in place that allows you to view the Milky Way in all it's glory? Do you think a dark sky party would be fun?
There's one in Nebraska, I've heard. Now, wouldn't that be a road trip?
There's a I