I am one of those odd and slightly eccentric people who like to rise at outrageously early hours in the morning and watch meteor showers.
Monday and Tuesday I had planned to see the Perseid meteor shower, but it was obscured by clouds.
There was a whole celestial light show going on, and I missed it.
Donít get me wrong, I and my flowers appreciated the rain.
My petunias perked right up, and they have had a hard year. Usually they run riot and the bed is so full of blooms that they choke out the weeds. But this year they struggled and only a few plants have managed to persevere through to August.
It made me a little sad to know that I missed the joy of a meteor shower because a small portion of the sky over where I live was covered with clouds.
Sometimes life is like that. There is a whole beautiful natural light show going on and you canít see it for the clouds surrounding your little corner of the world.
Clouds in the sky are beyond our control, clouds in our psyches are more mutable.
The Perseids have been visible every year at this time of year for at least 2000 years. The shower gets its name because it appears to fall from the constellation Perseus. It is associated with the comet, Swift-Tuttle.
Meteor showers happened when the earth moves through a meteor stream, which is a cloud of particles left by the tail of a comet.
Thatís the scientific explanation, the nuts and bolts, as it were.
I like to think of meteors as one of the awesome and lovely signatures of an intelligent and benevolent creative force.
Indeed, there are so many beautiful flourishes in the observable world Ė the symmetry and scent of roses, the brilliant red of a vermillion flycatcher, every sunrise and every sunset, the ocean, the mountains, honeysuckle . . . a full list would overrun the pages of this publication.
Monday morning I found myself in the front yard in the dark, staring up at the cloudy sky, unable to see a single meteor. For a moment I frowned, but then I realized how still the morning air was, how clean it smelled, how cool it felt on my skin. I heard the faint hoot-hoot of an owl in the woods and the soothing song of the frogs. I noticed the graceful way that the dark trees were silhouetted against the sky.
I was thankful that I had come outside in the early morning, even though I didnít get to see the meteors. It was beautiful and peaceful. The dark still world of early morning felt immense and lovely.
I think the reason I love to look at the sky so much is because it puts everything in perspective. It is difficult to feel too self-important when you notice how huge the universe is in comparison. It is easier to understand that most of the things that cause us to feel stress and unhappiness are not so huge after all.
Even the bank of clouds that covered Northeastern Oklahoma early Monday morning and obscured the Perseids was not so very large after all when compared to the earth and the solar system.
We all have clouds that hang over our heads sometimes and obscure the sun and the stars. It might even seems as if theyíve enveloped whole earth.
But the stars are still out there, just the same.