Last night my household went forth at midnight in search of meteors. The internet had assured us that it would be a good night to see them. The internet had also given us a weather warning for thunderstorms, so we knew it might not work. What we got was somewhere short of storms, and largely devoid of stars, shooting or otherwise.
I remember a party at this time of year, back in my teens, when I and many of my friends lay out on the host’s drive to watch the shooting stars. There were a lot of them and it was really beautiful. This is debris from a passing comet, but for me, knowing the details of what’s going on in no way disenchants the experience. Space debris burning up as it enters our atmosphere is remarkable stuff, and a reminder that we really are open to things from other parts of the universe.
I wanted to see the meteor shower, of course. It’s easy to make something like that central to an experience, and to be sad, angry or frustrated when conditions aren’t suitable and you don’t get the thing you wanted. It was a cool, damp night and the cloud formations out over the Severn were dramatic and beautiful. We could hear owls out in the fields. There were crickets in the hedges. It felt glorious and ridiculous in equal measure to be getting up at midnight and going for a walk.
Life is so often like this. It’s easy to get focused on the apparently big, dramatic and important things and miss out on what’s actually there as the drama is failing to deliver.