In Pursuit of the Perseids

“Talking to cops now,” she texted.

That’s usually not good. We had planned on meeting in a park on the shores of Lake Sammamish after midnight so we could sit and gaze at the sky over the water, without the nuisance of city lights, and enjoy the Perseids meteor shower. Turns out that Redmond’s finest don’t appreciate random people hanging about in public parks after dark. Even harmless folks like us.

Well, this was awkward. We’d all driven about an hour to reach this destination. Now what?

The officer was kind enough to direct them to a soccer field about 5 miles away, so she texted me the address. And of course I promptly got lost. I wound up in some highly secure facility where the guards wore paramilitary outfits. I was asked to leave.

Good grief, but this is a secure town. Yes, it’s the home of Microsoft, but come on. I’m a fat old 50 year old white chick who just happens to be wandering about after midnight. What kind of shenanigans could I be getting into?

I called her and said I didn’t know where the heck I was, and she handed the phone to her boyfriend, who got me headed in the right direction. You’d think with an address and a GPS, I wouldn’t have so much difficulty, but I’m of Viking descent, and we managed to lose America, so at least I come by it honestly.

Finally I arrived, and we unloaded the lawn chairs and they loaned me a long sleeved shirt, because, silly Floridian that I am, it didn’t occur to me that the temperature actually drops at night in Washington State. I provided the lifesavers. It’s always good to have some hard candy sweetness when you’re having to be patient. We went to the center of the field, sat down, and gazed expectantly at the sky.

Well, the shower turned out to be a bit more of a sprinkle. Every once in a while two of us would see a really spectacular one, and the third one, who had been looking elsewhere, would go, “Awww, man! Seriously?”

In between meteors, we bantered. And they are as good at that as I am. I laughed so hard I became breathless. And I got to watch a truly loving couple and imagine that maybe somehow, some day, it won’t be too late for me to have that. It gave me hope.

So overall, despite nearly being arrested and getting lost, the evening was a huge success, and I will forever cherish the memory. You can’t beat spending time with friends.

The next night when I got off work I turned off all my lights, went into my back yard, completely flattened my lawn chair and lay down and gazed upward. My dogs kept coming out to check on me, especially when they’d hear me gasp, which I did frequently. Because that night, in spite of being in the city, I was treated to an amazing display of shooting stars. That was a good night, too.

I can’t wait for next year.

[Image credit: gentlemenofsport.com]
[Image credit: gentlemenofsport.com]
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