I Couldn't sleep. With my feet secure in Lands End slippers, the gray surf shop sweatshirt zipped, I slipped my hands into my firewood gloves, wrapped myself in my sisters quilt and sneaked out the front door to see what the night had to offer. The sky was a mix of clear and cloud. I chose a plastic adirondak chair, faced the clearest opening then sat back to wait. I didn't have to wait long for the first meteor. Within a minute a faint streak of light split the sky. This was not the brightest shooting star I had ever seen, but it was the brightest one I had seen this year.
The year had been busy. My son and his new wife held their wedding at our home with several days of good food, good music, new family and new friends. Then my daughter moved 3000 miles away; a move that took 25 years, a rental car, and a leap of courage. In between all that there have been lawn mowers, marigolds, house concerts and new cousins from Virginia arriving with a cabbage rose that has been passed down since the 18th century.
Sitting in the yard watching the sky was a surprise gift from a flu that has taken many lives, but merely left me with a cough awakening me to this chance to view the night sky.
More than 15 minutes passed before another meteor flew across my vision. This one was the classical bright light with a tail lasting more than a second - forever in shooting star time. As I setteled into the pre-dawn morning I became attuned to the sounds, knowing I wasn't alone. A small animal rustled the leaves in the gully looking for a few calories to help it through the coming winter. A deer made its way across the field aware of me but knowing my smell well enough to know I was little threat.
I was there to see meteors, but I found a sky of pin prick lights filling my vision.
Finally I began to feel the cold as the wind gently lifted the small quilt. I stood up, not quite ready to give up this time which I had stolen from sleep. This hour was a free one. It was mine, not shared with house work, errands or the part-time job. I walked around the yard as my slippers gradually dampened. I finally succumbed to the shivering but now without one last twirl in the dark as I said good-bye the night creatures, returning to my own house with its florescent light glaring as, once again, I packed my husbands lunch.