Thursday, August 11, 2016

Week 32 of 2016 - Shooting Stars and Meteor Showers

We lived on 29 Mile Road and Mound Road from the time I was an infant until 1968 when we moved to Imlay City. We played out doors a lot...all the usual day time and night time games; Hide and seek, Red Rover, Touch the porch, Tag....and many others. Back then 29 Mile Road was a dirt road...I have picture of when they paved it... On hot summer nights like tonight, Mom would let us stay outside a little longer. I suppose that was because it was hot in the house and we would probably just complain about it. If you were lucky you had a big box fan that you put in a window and sucked the cool air in after the sun when down.

Often on these kinds of hot summer nights, you could only run around and play so much tag and hide and seek before you were sweaty and exhausted. So we would plop our hot sweaty bodies down in the grass and look up at the stars...This is when my love of star gazing began. We found that the ditch across the street from our house was just deep enough to support our backs just like a recliner. It would be dry as a bone by August. We never thought of how critters and bugs were joining us...We just mashed down the talk grass and laid on it! There were no street lights so nothing to interfere with the stars. It was not unusual for six or eight kids (Smith girls, Randall kids, Trombley kids, Hughes girls) to be laying in the ditch along side of the road watching for shooting stars. We would get so disappointed if a car came along which would mess up our eyes for a while.

I did not know then that it was a meteor shower that we were watching. I can not remember that I specifically watched them on my birthday. It was just an often occurrence in the summer when Mom would let us stay out long enough. Eventually she would flip on the porch light and we would have to come in. I was always so disappointed!

I remember being disappointed after we had moved in town in Imlay City to find that I could not see the stars most nights because there were just too many lights. By then I was more boy crazy than anything and star gazing got put on the back burner. 

 So about twenty five years later, I am living in Arizona. I am newly divorced and it is my 38th Birthday. All over the news they are talking about this Perseid Meteor shower which was suppose to be at storm level. I had ordered a made “special for me” cute Ford Ranger pickup, on Memorial day. Low and behold, it got delivered and was ready for pickup a couple of days before my birthday. My best friend, Miriam and I were looking for something to do to celebrate our birthdays which were a couple of weeks apart. My children are headed to spent time with their father so we headed for the desert north of Phoenix to see if we could see a Meteor shower. We found a dark location off of Happy Valley Road. (which today is totally built up!) It was a perfect location because there was a small ridge of hills that block the bright lights from Phoenix. We loaded the cooler with a couple of beers each and a couple of blankets to lay on... (lay on the desert floor at night? What were we thinking?) We found our little piece of desert and parked the truck. Brought down the tail gate and sat in the dark night letting out eye adjust. We both had to work in the morning so we could not make it too late a night but we had to have it be dark enough to see the stars too. 

It was about eleven o'clock or so when we saw our first shooting start. SO we laid back in the bed of the truck on the blankets and let “Mother Nature's” show begin. We literally saw hundreds and neither one of us wanted the night to end. We kept saying “ Just want to see one more big one streak across the sky and then we go! ” To this day when I talk about that night I get goosebumps. I had never seen anything like it.

I have chased this meteor show all over the country, from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, to Haleakala Crater on the island of Maui to my sisters driveway in Harbor Beach and it has become the best birthday present I could ever have. I have experienced it with all the most special people of my life.

So I hope you find time to slow down and enjoy the show sometime this week! The Meteor shower begin in late July, builds to the peak on the night of August 11/ morning of August 12, and unwinds again until about the 24th of August. So there is lots of time to view it!

Making more memories!

Love, Jan