Tasha and I watched the Geminids meteor shower last night. Since it was also a very cold night here in North Carolina, we combined our skywatching with dips in the hot tub, which we use to heat our greenhouse on nights when it gets down into the 20s or below.
We typically soak in the hot tub for as long as we can stand and then cool off on the Adirondack chairs I built for this purpose a couple years ago, which sit just outside the greenhouse on the rim of the upper pond. After the Russian fashion, we alternate between extremes of hot and cold. Usually, this is just the thing to guarantee a wonderful night’s sleep.
From where the chairs are, our property forms a sort of bowl, with the whole sky falling away in every direction. While it’s certainly no dark-sky area, the closest big cities are many miles away and even on a mediocre night, the Milky Way is usually faintly visible.
Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated with the night sky, astronomy, cosmology, and celstial events. It’s only recently though, mostly in the years since we’ve moved onto the farm, that I’ve thought much about what it means to be human in relation to the night and the heavens above. I’ve written about this elsewhere (here and here), and It’s a subject that I find myself returning to frequently, as our future here on our terrestrial home seems less and less certain.
Last night we did see a few spectacular meteors, though by no means the 120 per hour forecast to occur at the peak (2:00 AM). We were watching between 8:00 and 9:00 PM, but the meteors we saw - at least 10 of them - were remarkable in their brightness and intensity, leaving long, luminescent trails as they streaked across the dome of night.
Between soaking in 110-degree water and cooling off in the brisk, near-freezing night air while watching the light show in the skies above, something in me was satisfied, and I slept better than I have in months.
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