I thought about waking him up. Yeah, 11:00 PM is late for a kindergartner, but this? Oh, he’d dig it. Of course, I wouldn’t inform him of my plan. The surprise would be better – a tap on the shoulder, a whisper: “Put on your robe and your slippers, I want to show you something. Something cool.”
This we know: every year, the Leonids burn through the skies, sometimes a sprinkling, sometimes a downpour. It’s tragically beautiful: those glowing streaks represent a cosmic traveller (an inanimate chunk of rock and ice, of course, but still, if that chunk of rock and ice could talk, the stories it would tell) flaming out as it falls Earthward. Tuesday night was the shower’s peak, and the buzz was 20 – 30 meteors per hour for U.S. viewers. That doesn’t sound like a lot – a meteor every two minutes – but it would be enough for the kid. I’d seen my first meteor shower on a camping trip, years ago, up in the hills of far eastern San Diego county. I remember it being better than the Floyd show at the Laserium. I also remember it being a much needed dose of perspective, one that even a punkass college kid like Me Back Then could appreciate. The Universe unfolds as it should, and sometimes it does so brilliantly.