To my friends who missed the Leonids
A rambling by J. Higgins-Rosebrook

There are three sets of car lights on Meany Ridge and a torchlit procession to the log truck landing on Stampede Ridge, above the Bayles cabin. Car lights flicker through the blowing trees along the forty-eighty-three road across the freeway. Campers circle Lizard Lake. Bryce and Mary arrive at 1 a.m. and Orion stands mid-sky, belt and sword polished and gleaming.

Where were you? You were asleep again, weren't you? I wished you were here. I watched for you.

Bundled so only our eyes show, leaning back against the Colt for support, we eye the sky. Thirty degrees and falling, wind gusting to 20 from every direction to this peak and yet we stand for three hours, awestruck.

Whoo! From French Cabin Mountain to Windy Peak, electric blue light streaks and explodes pink, leaving white smoke smeared across the black.

It was foggy where you were, I hear. Was here too far for you to drive?

Straight up, six chartreuse streams explode several ways down the dome. We gasp in delight and every gasp releases into the mufflers over our noses, the warm aroma of the coffee we thought we'd need to keep ourselves awake.

Five green-blazing baseballs pitched from Keechelus Ridge to Rainier. Ohhh, yessss!

The big city overcast kept all but the biggest invisible over your heads, or so I hear. Did you see the two that flashed so bright the yard light dimmed?

Who knows how many we saw before we took our popsicle toes indoors? How to count, hundreds, maybe thousands? We felt cheated when one broke behind us while several were blazing above us.

Two improbabilities combine and I get to share and so, magnify this wonder. On this dark-of-the-moon night in mid-November, the sky is clear. The roads had been blocked with 14 inches of snow, but now are clear again in mid-November and the Colt can make it here with faithful friends.

Once every 33 years, Tempel-Tuttle comet storms across our sky and we get this chance to suck in our breath in wonder and whisper "Yes, yes, yes, YES!" with our suddenly let out breath as streaks of gold quarter the sky, but you regretted other obligations.

Some of you, who slept through the night, got up this morning and went into a church to ponder signs and wonders done two millenia ago and half a world away.

What can I say?

Next time this happens, I'll be 90. I'll need a nap and someone to remind me. Will you be with me then?

[ by J. Higgins-Rosebrook ]
Rambles: 24 November 2001