Last night marked the peak for this year of the Leonid meteor shower. The past couple of years’ peaks have come and gone behind solid cloud here in Chicago, not an uncommon occurrence this time of year. But yesterday dawned crystal clear and the nearly-nonexistent humidity continued all day. So my husband and I went out to watch for meteors.
We only watched from about 10:15 to 10:45. We didn’t stay out too long because the wind had started to rise and even with a sleeping bag under and around us we cooled off pretty fast. We couldn’t stay too late because we had to drive most of an hour west and off the main highway to get far enough from Chicago’s light pollution to see any but the very brightest streaks. If we’d gone west of DeKalb, we could have gotten darker sky but at the cost of a longer drive home … and we couldn’t sleep in this morning so we compromised.
Even with a rim of bright haziness at the horizon, our dark-adjusted eye picked out a handful of dim streaks and a couple of bright flashes. But even more than the few, unpredictable meteor sightings, I reveled in the sight, however dim, of stars I can never see from our yard, with the streetlight by the road and neighbors’ lit windows. I saw at least a hint of the Milky Way. The Pleiades. And on the way home, the 3rd quarter moon, just barely risen over the horizon and still blood red.
November has sped by. Less than two weeks remain. This bodes ill for my finishing a novel before the end of the month, even if I write in the car to/from Minnesota … when I’m not the driver, of course.
But I care less about finishing by Nov 30 than about finishing well. After all, my first novel (the one that I started with the idea of writing a short story) took almost 20 months to finish. Of course, some of that time the novel simply lay fallow as I did other things.
As I did last night, leaving mundane duties (such as getting to bed at a “decent” (in other words, “responsible”) time for a frolic and detour. My frolic rewarded me with a small adventure, an experience of wonder outside the everyday and a reminder of the awe-inspiring universe that surrounds my mundane life.
So instead of being completely cast down by my laggard performance this month, I take heart that no rule keeps me from completing what I’ve started even after November ends. And I hope I can keep hold of the wonder and delight I felt watching the meteor shower so that some of the wonder can trickle over into my story.