Friday, August 12, 2016

- Star light, not bright

Patch #225 Perseus


We went out twice hoping to see the Perseid meteor shower. On Thursday evening, the waxing gibbous moon lit the sky and we only saw a couple of faint streaks.

So we set the alarm for 5:00 am and tried again. Even with the moon set, the sky was still a gauzy gray, rather than the incredible black slate of my childhood memories. A few more streaks lit the sky, but nothing like the light show the media had been hyping.

Back in the 1960s we spent every August at my grandparents' cottage on Shelter Island. And if it seems strange that I would recall seeing the Perseid meteor showers back then, it is perhaps understandable if I explain that my parents met on a blind date in mid-August of 1950. Every year we not only went out to watch the shooting stars, we heard all over again the story of their first night together.

I also remember how the Milky Way painted the skies back then, like one of Hazel's star cloths. Sadly, I haven't seen a similar display for many years. 

So if the stars on my Perseus patch seem faint, it is because they are a reflection of the light-filled skies of this new century. Perhaps our next visit to the desert Southwest will include clearer skies and a chance to experience the magic once again. I dare to hope ...

4 comments:

Dana said...

In the Northwest it is rare to see lots of stars even when the skies are clear. I, too, hoped to see at least some of the Perseids this week, but did not. In the nineties we used to go up to a mountain lake in the high Cascades on the first weekend in August. It was always Perseid time when we were there and the night was so complete that the stars reflected in the glassy water were as bright as the real thing. One night there I saw a true firedrake...it arched across the whole lake and hung in red and gold spangles for what seemed forever. I've never seen one as spectacular before or since.

Liz Ackert said...

I'm so glad you shared this, Dana. I had never heard the term firedrake before, but your description left a clear image iny mind's eye.

susan said...

Your patch captured your explanation of how the sky looked.
Ah, Shelter Island. We used to take the ferry over for lunch or dinner when we stayed in Sag Harbor. It's such a beautiful place and I'm sure you have lots of wonderful memories.

Liz Ackert said...

Ah, Sag Harbor ... which we used to visit, along with Bridgehampton where my mom would take the girls shopping for school clothes. The south fork of Long Island is a pretty part of the world, as you well know.