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 ...