Tuesday, August 30, 2016

And There Went August...

I have only blogged once this month, well twice counting this post right here.  That is a new record low.  I have been bursting at the seams with incredible experiences and have been caught up in a busy go-go summer blur.  I have so many blog posts half-crafted in my brain.  Hopefully I can pour them out via the keyboard here soon.  In the meantime here is a glimpse of what has been keeping me so fantastically distracted living life that I've not found the time to write about it.

I visited the Devil's Tower for the first time.  It was a spontaneous weekend gettaway to a place I've always wanted to go, but never had.  Oddly enough, I liked the trails better the further we got from the tower itself.
On the way home we took a detour so we could visit and tour Jewel Cave National Monument.
We saw some epic concerts.  String Cheese Incident at the Big Sky Brewing Company was a real highlight.  Jeff Austin Band was even better than I'd hoped.  The banjo player, in particular, was phenomenal.  I don't know how people move their fingers that fast.  My friend, David, started a new band, The City Parks.  He is a great musician and the audience is always full of my friends so it is a win-win for me.
We took our friend, Hannah, to visit Glacier National Park.  We only had a couple days--on the way home from seeing String Cheese--but it was a blessedly good time.  Tremendous views while hiking and plenty of laughs.  That place is so pretty.
We went on our annual Megavacation.  This year we went to the west coast, taking in Olympic National Park and Rainier National Park--plus, some time with my sister and friends in the Seattle area.   I saw more wildflowers in Rainier than I think I've seen in my whole life until now.  I also watched a starfish move about with its stretchy mass of tentacle feet.  It was amazing.  The whole dang trip was.
The garden is doing very well, especially since it has been quite neglected this year by comparison.  We had our best onion harvest ever.  We've got more eggplants than we know what to do with.  Ginger spends all her time out there, if allowed.
I bought a new bicycle.  After ten years of daily use my old one--a college graduation present from my dad--needed more repairs than it would cost to just buy a new, even higher quality bicycle.  So, I've got slick new wheels.  It is handy to have full use of my gears and brakes again.
We went to Yellowstone--again.  It wasn't as smokey as I'd expected, given that parts of it are on fire.  We hiked to a couple lakes, lounged in our hammocks in the trees, watched the birds, and woke to a tent covered in frost.
And now I am packing for a four day music festival experience with some of my ol' pals from high school.  My friends and I are still in almost daily contact via the web, but it will be a real treat to dance and camp and make merry with them in the flesh.  Matt's not coming.  I think he is relieved.  We've been gone an awful lot.  Like usual.  I mean, it's summertime.
The cats will be glad he is staying home, too.  The amount of following-me-around-meowing-for-attention when we get home, even from a weekender, is bordering on absurd at this point.  But, it is sure nice to know we're loved and missed.  Terribly, I gather.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Under Our Dome of Shooting Stars

We set the alarm clock for midnight.  We knew there was no way we'd manage to stay up so late, especially on a work night, and thought a little "nap" might help.  When the alarm sounded in the dark I was thoroughly confused--until I remembered the reason behind such craziness as purposefully waking oneself from a comfortable sleep in the middle of the night.  The Perseid meteor shower was well underway and we wanted to experience the wonder.

The night before we'd set out west of town to take in the stars, but it was barely 10:00 pm and not nearly dark enough for a proper viewing.  We each saw a handful of very small meteors--the size of your average, every-day type of shooting star--and then called it a night, declaring to do better the next day.  We needed to get out after the dark had had longer to settle its blanket over everything.  We needed to get out after midnight.

Now I can stay up dancing all night long if the music is good.  In the comfort of my quiet home, kitty on my lap, book in hand, etc.....sigh...I am ready for bed well before midnight.

I can now attest that an alarm clock is quite jarring at midnight, particularly after just a few hours of rest.  Still, with excitement about this cosmic dance we rose, heated tea, grabbed some blankets and pillows, and set off into the night for a second try at star-gazing.

After we'd lay there under the sky for a half hour or more, our eyes adjusted well to the darkness.  The Milky Way streamed overhead, punctuated with meteor after meteor after meteor.  I had intended to keep count, but quickly lost track.

My eyes strained to become a wider lens, able to take in as much of the sky as possible.  The meteors zipped by in the corner of my eye, falling from directly overhead, plunging into the Big Dipper.  Where to look?!  Where to look?!

In addition to myriads of the smaller, more every-day sized shooting stars (the ones you might see in the yard and make a wish upon) there were dozens and dozens of substantial, bright meteors that briefly lit their entire corner of the sky.  It was dazzling to watch as their fiery tails lingered and then faded after them, momentarily leaving an impression of their path across the sky before dissolving into the ebony backdrop again.

It felt like observing a miracle.  A miracle shared by so many people in so many places and times.  What a gift!  Tired or not today, we are contemplating going out again tonight....