Perseids

Yesterday I decided to stay up to watch the Perseid meteor shower at night. I made a chocolate cake using my trademark improvised double-boiler method since the oven doesn’t work. The chocolate was just to help me stay awake, not because I wanted to eat cake. I thought I’d suffer for science.

By around 9:30pm, I had decided that the more realistic course of action was to go to sleep at 10 or so and set an alarm. I had heard that since the light of the full moon would affect the viewing of the meteor shower, it was best to try to aim for sometime before dawn when the moon would be lower in the sky. This message was apparently from NASA, but (I am a bad librarian) I just got it from some unauthoritative website that looked like a tacky newspaper and was full of spelling and grammar errors. I decided to play it safe and set the alarm for 2:30am, which would give me time for a second chance, if need be.

Once I was asleep, I had stress dreams about missing the meteors, sort of like you have the first day before a new job or something.

I got up at 4:00. I had checked at 2:00, and the moon made the sky so bright that I estimated I could only see about 5% of the stars I would usually see on a dark, clear night. At 4, it was a little better, but still pretty bright. I walked up to the field for a second time and lay down to look up at the sky. I really should do this more often. It was beautiful and peaceful, though I could still see only a fraction of what I normally see when the moon isn’t full.¬† There was more shadow from the moon than there had been in so many cloudy days recently. After a while of lying there, I decided that it was time to go back, even though I hadn’t seen any meteors. I walked back down to the cabin, and looked up once more while I was on the path to the cabin. A streak of white blazed through the sky. It hadn’t been the 1-2 per minute that I’d been hoping to see, but it was still amazing. I lay down on the deck and saw another one, a longer one. Then instead of white streaks above me, there were black ones, about a metre above me. Bats zipped around, one in a circle right over me while I was lying down. I imagine they were drawn to the mosquitoes that were drawn to me. They eventually disappeared and I went in, ate some of the leftover cake and went to bed.

I slept restlessly, having realistic dreams about the meteors and then woke up to really loud music at dawn. I was confused; was that my alarm? I hadn’t set one for the morning. I looked out the window to see a light-coloured sedan slowly drift by on my driveway blaring what sounded like Newfoundland folk music with the windows open, and a man singing drunkenly along at the top of his lungs. It was bizarre, and nothing like that has ever happened here. I listened until I heard the tires squeal on pavement.

Later in the morning I heard some scratching from behind a piece of plywood leaning against a wall outside. I remembered hearing that the day before when I had passed, and was curious, so I moved the piece of wood. Three bats fluttered away and one plopped to the ground in front of me before flying back up behind the plywood. I checked a few hours later and at least four of them were back there again. Now I feel like I have to make them a house before I can use the plywood.

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