Two Dot: night light

Deep in the night when the Perseids were at their peak, John whispered “The stars are falling.” I could not rouse myself, but I turned toward the window, perhaps hoping that the magic might penetrate my sleep if only I faced it. I did get up later and leaned on the window ledge for a minute. Two meteors streaked through the sky and I fell back into bed. In the morning we agreed that if we woke that night we would go outside. At 3am I checked the windows in every direction. The day’s cloud cover was gone as predicted and stars pierced the dense black. I watched to the north until I saw the dash of a meteor and woke John. We stumbled through the dark house out onto our front porch and lay back in lawn chairs cocooned in quilts and looked for meteors in a field of stars. They came again and again, some leaving tails, some not. It is both a reassurance and a bewilderment to look into the night sky. The multitudes of stars and the vastness of space are hard to comprehend. At the same time, family and friends spread across this country look out to the same dependable constellations, the occasional phenomena, and the milky-way holding us all.


Two Dot: between the ditches

It was a slow drive after sunset as we scanned the ditches for deer or any animal that might unexpectedly pop up in front of the car. We settled into quietly singing along with the CD’s playing on the car deck. It kept us awake and alert without the distraction of conversation. More than half way home, the turn-off to Martinsdale loomed up quickly from the dark and John turned without signaling. People don’t use their turn-indicators much here. I have signaled just just for fun when turning from one lonely gravel road to another. But last night in the deeply black high plains, driving slow and trying to stay clear of the deer and the ditches, suddenly the flashing red and blue appeared in the side mirror. I turned to John and said “I think we are being pulled over.” He glanced in the rearview mirror and guessed we were. There is no shoulder on Highway 294, so John stopped in the road and became more of a hazard than the deer or lack of signals. But we complied with the officer’s requests and questions without fear. Besides having nothing to conceal we don’t fit  stereotypes for trouble. We are white and middle-class and older. The officer was very young, but respectful, though dressed for war. The lights, the uniform, and the guns were more of a strange apparition than a threat or a comfort. 

Two Dot: picture perfect

We made our way through Bridger pass, the high range to the west backlit by a usual and yet impossible sunset. I snapped photos from the car and even stopped to get out for a better view, but the rectangles gathered by my camera were a disappointment. The mountain silhouettes still had definition to their faces, but of a completely different color pallet and value than what was going on behind them. The clouds started intensely white with burned out hot spots and mottled glowing yellow edges. The pinks came on as the cloud formations changed to layered striations and the peaks sawed up and down as we continued to drive. We stopped for a minute at a campground and when we emerged from the trees it was clear that the show was over. We drove on quietly in the collecting dark, remembering the color and light. Now I find these words are about as useless as the photos to convey the view.