Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Celestial Shows

I try to show up for the celestial shows. Lunar eclipses are fun, but I've seen a few total solar eclipses too. I remember one in about 1984. We hadn't been in our house very long because I remember observing the event sitting on the back steps. The reason I remember the timeframe is because we didn't have those steps long, because we built a deck.
I had a pair of my dad's old welding goggles that I used to watch the event. The goggles look like the ones worn by early motorcycle riders, except when you look through these goggles, even at mid day, the world looked as dark as a cemetery at midnight.
Jilda and I sat out there and we'd take turns peering through the goggles, watching the moon inch across the sky obscuring all but a thin ring of fire. I wish we'd taken pictures, because I'm sure they would put a smile on our faces today -- thirty years later.
During the moments of the total eclipse, it looked erie. Our roosters began crowing and headed toward the roost even though it was midday.
Even in the 1980's we knew beforehand that there would be an eclipse, but I wonder what people thought before newspapers and TV's warned of celestial events.
You may be wondering what started me down this path, but as I was sitting here tapping keys, trying to come up with an idea, I glanced at the Google Hot Trends List and I saw geminid meteor showers was one of the trending topics.
Once I read that, I closed my laptop and I stepped out on the deck to have a look. Within 10 seconds, ZIP -- I saw a meteor streak across the sky like a lightening bug taking steroids.
I stood out there a while longer but I didn't see any more shooting stars.
We see so many mundane things from day to day as we trudge through our lives, that it's easy to lose site of the fact that we live in a garden. And often the greatest show on earth can be viewed from your back steps.


  1. Ah, Rick, as soon as I saw the mention of the meteor shower on the news I thought of you and JIlda in your lovely abode. We have too much light from the neighborhood to be able to view this stunning show of nature. The last one we saw was when we went to the beach at Thanksgiving a few years back. The lights were dim all around us and it was breathtaking!
    I hope you get to see a few more flash across the sky tonight!

  2. I think in ancient times some peoples were afraid at the eclipses. It would be interesting to read some history on the subject. I saw a solar eclipse one year through some glass they were selling in town.

  3. One of the nicest things about getting out of the city is being able to see the starry sky. I was able to stand at my bedroom window in the city the other morning and watch the total eclipse of the moon. Lovely.

  4. I am yet to see a shooting star!

    Not fair! Take care

  5. good memory Sir Rick! I can't remember my last eclipse. all i know it is when i was still in Taipei.
    now all i can see are the christmas lights that i have around and inside the house.


  6. I so appreciate you last paragraph in this wonderful post.
    So very very true!!!!

  7. Shooting stars are so beautiful, but they make me kind of sad too.

  8. My mom said that there was a total solar eclipse when she was young and a lot of people were afraid of it. There were also people who stared at the sun and went blind, according to her.


  9. I remember that solar eclipse - I had just moved back to Birmingham. On meteor showers, there have been times I've gone out late at night upon hearing of some event like the Leonid Showers only to see nothing but a cold starry sky. Then there are those unanticipated wonders, like the time I stepped out my back door at dusk just in time to see a HUGE meteor firing through the sky momentarily before breaking up and fading away.


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