For the past week or so I had been thinking about the Perseids Meteor Shower set to peak last night between 2 and 4 a.m. The weather forecast was for clear skies and Saturday night the visibility of the stars was amazing. Instead of the usual beach chair I inflated an air mattress and set it in a spot in the yard with the clearest view of as much of the sky as I could. (Truth be told I could have dragged that mattress out to the back forty and had a bigger view). I got my camera ready but wasn’t expecting much – it’s a fully automatic SLR that really causes me more aggravation than anything else.
I knew there was no way I was going to stay awake until 2:00 so we went out to our gazing spot with our quilt in hand. It was around 50 degrees and quite damp but the visibility was amazing.
I would say we didn’t see more than 5 or 6 shooting stars in an hour – they were good ones though. The real treat was seeing the night sky on such a clear night. Typically the sky is clouded over – it’s been a few years since I’ve actually watched this shower because of that.
For me the biggest treat of all was the Barred Owls that were all around us for a good part of the time we were there. It started with just one in the distance calling. It then landed in a tree in the back forty and kept talking, then to one of the maples near us. We then heard another calling back in the distance and soon it had joined the one that was closest to us. When they got together there was such a cacophony I wondered if it was a territorial dispute. There was some very loud squawking. After a few minutes of silence we could hear one of them calling in the distance again.
It really was such a gift of nature. The owls were really the only sound while we were out there – other than a few crickets. I love listening to them talk to each other. I’m sure all birds talk to each other but nothing is as obvious as this – they are the only ones you hear at that time of night. There is normally a lot of owl action around the house but this year it’s been quiet. I was worried about where they might have gone. It was nice of them to pay me a visit and let me know they hadn’t really gone anywhere.