I lay down on the cool concrete of our front porch and made ready to watch the meteor shower. It was ten o’clock, still a little early, but I knew I was too sleepy to stay up much later. Everything I read said the best time to see the show would be right before dawn when the sky is at its darkest. But I know how my body fails to listen to the alarm clock on a day off of work. I would take my chances and collect what little starlight fell over my tired body at ten p.m.
I found Cassiopeia, and looked for the constellation Perseus below. It’s called the Perseid Meteor Shower because the meteors seem to shoot out of the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky. It’s an annual occurrence, but this year’s shower is supposed to be especially glam due to it coinciding with the moon waning into a new one. To my dismay, I noted a large amount of light pollution right where the old boy should be. Never mind, I decided to give it a go anyway.
The concrete was cool on my back and the stars above looked like granite. I let the shine take me, and I remembered a William Carlos Williams poem I had recently read:
It’s a strange courage
you give me ancient star:
Shine alone in the sunrise
toward which you lend no part!
I did, indeed, feel a strange courage holding me as I reclined underneath those twinkling lights. My husband came out to check on me, but didn’t stay long. He has no patience for these things.
“I could sleep out here,” I told him, and I stretched my legs out to the edge of the porch. “No you can’t,” he said, and disappeared. But I thought I could, and for a moment I was lost in imagining being kissed to sleep by night-dew, tucked in by trailing fires of meteors dipping low. As if by invitation, I saw my first meteor shoot by, leaving its long tail behind. I waited another half hour and was rewarded with another, before conceding that maybe I needed my soft bed after all.
I fell into a dreamless sleep, starlight my companion.
shine alone in the sunrise …
and I will give you my heart.