Starburst

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perseid-map

http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/meteor-shower/perseid.html

The alarm sounds and for a few moments, I’m disoriented. It’s 3:30am! What the …? Then I remember, the Perseid meteor shower in a night sky meant for shooting stars. New moon, no clouds and hopefully no mosquitoes on this mid-August night.

I shake my husband and he asks me to make a wish for him, then rolls over already snoring. The dog and I head out to the back deck and both settle into my favorite chair. The open sky from this vantage point is minimal, but it is enough to already see a star sweep across the darkness. So, for my husband, I make a wish for better health.

Snuggling in, the dog sighs and I smell the earth of her. Her weight in my lap, sincere. I rub behind her ears.

My eyes move back and forth across the sky. I hardly breathe, as if in a carnival fun house waiting for a hand to reach out of nowhere and grab my ankle or yank my hair. And then I see another. This time the tail is wide and lasting. A fireball. My wish is for all my grandchildren to be seeing that star, that blaze at the same time … eating popcorn while they oooh and ahhhh.

A car comes down the road, a flash of headlight and I wonder where they are going at 4am on a Thursday morning. Another star and I wish for them the start of a vacation and not the beginning of a long day at work.

My eyes soften and there is one, then two at the same time. I wish for silver queen corn at the farm stand today. Some may consider this a wasted wish, but the flavor is something to remember in the deep of winter.

From this back deck, it looks like such a short distance each star travels, though the expert on NPR says they may move 37 miles in one second, these particles the size of sand grains. The inside of my brain becomes a meteor shower as it tries to comprehend this.

Now, we are on a roll and though not a doctor, I use my wishes for healing – my brother, my friend Beth who had surgery less than 24 hours ago, my friend Pat and her troubled back, Baby Joseph who I’ve only met on FaceBook, but whose smile always makes me smile, Baby Andrew and his lost twin.

The cliche “You are here…” becomes my silent mantra. How is this dark sky possible, these stars viewed from this chair? How am I able to see them, feel my heartbeat, know my complete unknowing? And if this ‘above’ is so very vast, where then is Heaven? How is it possible to be further still?

Finally, my neck needs release. The dog has gotten down and rearranged herself on my feet. Still looking star-ward, I gently nudge her. Just visible in the left of open sky, the Seven Sisters wink, one of the few constellations I can identify … and I blow them a kiss.

The dog is now alert to the far off cry of coyotes. I want to howl too, at a heaven I cannot see … but wish is there.