by Carol Dunn
Hope you all got in some good sky watching during the height of the Perseid meteor shower on August 12 and 13. I sure did. And I’ll have to say it made me a little nervous wondering if they would, as the meteor-men in black shiny shoes assure us, all burn up in the outer atmosphere – especially when one fiery ball streaked across the sky headed for La Veta. That is the stuff Hollywood movies are made of. The rest of the sky watching experience is the stuff heating pads and muscle liniment are made for.
Might I first say, it was unseasonably cool on those nights. So I should have bundled up, but I didn’t think I would be outside that long. After all, it was billed as a “shower,” not a “sprinkle.” I was ready for something like fireworks. But no. And unfortunately, the sky is straight up.
It’s very inconvenient for those of us with necks, because you have to bend your neck back at an unnatural angle, ie. 45 degrees, to see the night sky. I don’t know about your neck, but mine doesn’t bend that way without registering its complaint in the form of stabbing pain. Oh sure, I could have lain down on the lawn to watch the sky, but do you know what lurks in lawns after dark? Spiders, moths, stink bugs, earwigs, ants (which never sleep) and grasshoppers with insomnia. And where are they going to end up? In my hair. So, no thanks.
And yes, I could have reclined on a lounge chair. But let me ask this, how many of you farmers and ranchers out there even OWN a lounge chair? What, pray tell, would we do with one anyway? I think you’re more likely to see a rancher in shorts and tennis shoes than lying around on a lounge chair.
So, about 30 seconds into the sky watching experience, my neck started to ache. I used my hands as a sort of sling to ease the neck ache, only to have my arms start to ache. And that made my back ache. And during the entire time, I had not yet seen EVEN ONE comet, except for that one that was going to obliterate La Veta. It seemed like no matter where I looked it wasn’t the right spot.
I was starting to wonder if little flashes of light were meteors or eye fatigue. Every time someone else would say, “OOOH, THAT WAS A NICE ONE!” I would look, but not fast enough. Of course, I did see several things I did NOT want to see: like bats looking for someone’s hair to fly into – oh, and the blinking lights of airplanes. Matter of fact I’ve heard there’s a lot of junk flying around up there, like the spoons your kids swear they didn’t take outside to play with in the dirt and the matching socks to the singles everyone has in their sock drawer. Plus stars.
You know, there are a LOT of stars in the night sky of Huerfano. You get to looking at how many stars there are, and . . . “Oooh, that was a nice one!” . . . you miss the meteors. They were zipping across the sky about one a minute, with me missing just about all of them, when the clouds moved in.
Time for the liniment and the heating pad.