shooting stars

Of shooting stars…

Photo courtesy of NASA

I sat on my front stoop alone last night straining to see any of the shooting stars in the sky. I don’t know if it was positioning on my part or the thin layer of cloud cover, but search as I might, none of the beautiful sky show graced my view.

I was not disappointed in my time spent on the porch though. The humidity dropped and a light summer breeze made my skin feel cool and gave music to the neighbors wind chimes. The crickets gave a gentle buzz instead of their normal shouted cacophony.  A bat or two fluttered by scooping up insects drawn by the street lamp on the corner. It was the perfect setting to as Pooh is want to say, “Think, think, think”.

Thoughts of how slowly and yet quickly the summer passed intertwined with visions of what is to come, as I listened to the starlings call out to each other. The night echoed with the summer’s first faint cries of “I’m bored” and the last plaintive whimpers of “I’m not ready for school to start” and all the voices in between those two moments.

We didn’t do anything big or go off on a extended trip like last year (see August 2011 entries). No we stayed close to home and created small, forever memories.

There was the disappointment at not being able to spend time with my daughter Nené on her 25th birthday (ye gads, 25th!). But there was comfort in knowing that we were able to speak to each other.

I loved the quiet, uninterrupted two hour conversation Bashert and I had on our anniversary (15 years, thank you). That was a gift from my Mom and sister Calico Nell who took Yoda with them on the ride down to Savannah for a visit.

I smiled at the memory of Yoda proudly piloting us out of the marina during that visit with my Aunt Spinning Jenny and Uncle Cliff Clavin. Cliff, who is not always that great with grown-ups, excels in bringing out confidence in kids. He had Yoda doing boat doughnuts in Turner Creek by the time our venture out ended.

I again marveled at Bashert’s bravery in conquering her own fears of thunderstorms in order to show Yoda that all was okay sitting on the screened porch while nature lashed all about. She held her own and we laughed and laughed, while Yoda challenged Cliff to yet another game of chess and I shared some Herman’s Hermits music memories with my sister.

Warm fuzzies surrounded me when I thought of the surprise birthday cake my Mom presented to Yoda and me that same weekend.  I love my Mom.

I relived Yoda’s birthday party of just a few days ago when stiff haired, tattooed rock stars invaded our home. Bashert slammed home another theme party with a karaoke madness/pool fête. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen five eight/nine year old boys getting down to LMAOF on plastic, blow-up guitars and keyboards. We now have enough video to grant several opportunities for teenage blackmail.

As I shifted to relieve the pressure on my bum, some sore muscles reminded me of the fulfilled birthday promise I made to Yoda. We spent the day at one of our local arcades – just the two of us. We sort of fudged his age so that he could drive the go-cart by himself. (I’d forgotten what a thrill it is to pretend to be older than you are.) The smile on his face as he zoomed past me was priceless.

That same smile lit up when he introduced me to laser tag. If you ever want a work out try half an hour of sneaking around in blacklight darkness trying to zap fast moving little kids. You automatically go into a half squat and scurry from hiding place to hiding place. Your thighs will thank you. Yoda won two out of the four games, racking up six digit points on the last round, which I found out later resulted mainly from him shooting me! I wondered where that sniper was.

As much as I had dreaded the noise and prospect of dealing with the foibles of other people’s children, I am glad we spent that day. It’s part of this summer I will never forget.

Thoughts of the coming day began to filter in after a bit. Yoda starting his first day of third grade, me returning to work, all the mundane things that need to be taken care of. I pulled my eyes from the night sky, gave a sigh and turned to go inside. Summer vacation was over.

I was saddened not to have seen a shooting star, but I believe I still gathered a pocket full of starlight. Each of this summer’s memories will act as a luminary for any dark days of struggle yet to come and will serve as beacons for the next round of times spent together. Like the song says:

“For when your troubles start multiplyin’
And they just might
It’s easy to forget them without tryin’
With just a pocketful of starlight.

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day.”

When You Wish Upon A Star

Image courtesy of NASA via The Huffington Post

A good portion of my drive home from work is done in darkness; lit only by my headlights and the night sky.  Most of my time is spent on the look out for drunk drivers and random wildlife playing Russian Roulette with two ton vehicles.  But when the skies are like they were last week, I tend to sneak peeks upward.

Wednesday I looked up and saw it; a shooting star.  It happened in a blink of my eye.  Zip and it was gone. When I told Yoda about it, he asked if I had made a wish.  I told him it took me so much by surprise that I forgot.  He said that was okay just seeing the star could be my wish. He can be pretty smart, that Yoda.

Turns out I was seeing the meteors of the Quadrantids and if I had pulled over, I probably would have seen quite a fireworks show.

Seeing that star (or meteor dust, as it was explained to be by Yoda) put me in a thoughtful mood.  I remember sitting out in the cold night long ago watching one of the annual meteor showers overhead.

Going through a rather difficult stage in my life, I sought solace in the quiet and beauty of the night. Alone out there, I felt out of time, released from the stresses of the situation. Each little piece of dust that left its streak across the sky had me ooing and ahhing as if it was the 4th of July.  I went inside only when the sun began to lighten the backdrop.

I’d like to say that the time I spent under the shooting stars gave me some profound outlook and I became a wiser human being at one with the universe and all that jazz, but it was not to be.

I awoke the next day tired and with a stiff neck from looking up from my lawn chair for so many hours. The pressures had not lifted and life would remain quite difficult for some time to come.

But what those tiny bits of frying meteor dust did give me eighteen years ago, was a memory.  A memory of space without measured time; a glimpse into the vast expanse beyond my little wretched world.  They gave me a smile.

There’s supposed to be another major meteor shower coming in late April this year, the Lyrids.  The peak is supposed to be the 21st, a Saturday. It’s marked on my calendar.  Come out and join me; create a memory.

And don’t forget to make a wish.