Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not Quite a Shower

I woke up at 4:15 a.m., fifteen minutes before my alarm would have started beeping. That's not unusual. Setting the alarm is unusual, but whenever I do feel the need to turn it on, I rarely find myself still asleep when it finally does go off. My inner clock seems to beat it to the punch every time.

The Perseid meteor shower was scheduled to be at its height just before dawn this morning. I've seen it once before, and it was spectacular. I sat at night with my brother Ken on a small hilltop in Oregon, watching shooting stars rain through the skies over our head. Unfortunately, we were surrounded by an unfortunate conglomeration of rowdy people with many interests besides watching the skies.

There was the family with the new telescope. The dad hogged the scope, screaming at his children when they wanted a peek. He was louder and more obnoxious than they were. That took considerable effort on his part. The wife wrung her hands and whined. She was cold. She was tired. She was hungry. Between complaints she would yell at the children to 'shut up.' 

On the other side of us was a group of college kids. Their primary interest was a cooler of beer, and who could do the most to empty it. They were louder than the children. At least they sounded happy, until the beer ran out. Then they started arguing. "No, you go buy some more. I bought the last case!" Where are the rangers when you need them?

About that time Kenny decided he'd had enough, and yelled at everyone to pipe down. They started yelling back that it was a free world, so he folded his chair and melted into the night. He took the flashlight with him. Our tent was a long dark distance from the hill, so I followed. I only fell once.

It was certainly different this morning. I sat alone in the dark on our top deck. With my neck comfortably propped up on the back of a deck chair, I scanned the pre-dawn skies, and waited for the shower. I saw a couple dozen shooting stars in an hour—more of a sprinkle than a shower, but it was wonderful. The silence and peace of the morning were profound.

As dawn chased the stars from the sky, I turned, glancing through the pines before heading back inside the house. Mama deer and her two babies were passing through the yard. As I gave my customary 'good morning, deer,' greeting, a flash of color caught my eye. A red fox, startled by the sound of my voice, froze for a moment, then raced from sight.

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

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