Friday, December 14, 2012

star gazing

yesterday mindy went to spend some time with her friend corrinne.  they went shopping and talked about what corrine's kids had asked for christmas.  anyway, the part that made mindy melt was that corrinne's daughter asked for 'stars.'  mindy thought that was the cutest, most thoughtful thing to wish for.  and it is.  what kind of wandering wondering mind must a kid who asks for the stars have?  just that sense of boundless curiosity is intriguing.

then later in the day, mindy read in the news that there was going to be a meteor shower last night.  she  asked if i thought we'd be able to see any, and i responded with a maybe.  mindy has never seen a shooting star.  she grew up in a modern metropolis where light/particulate pollution blocks out that kind of wonder (the man who claimed 'the sky is the limit,' must have been from a city).  i grew up in indiana, in the city, the suburbs, and the middle of nowhere, and the stars were something i always stared at from the back seat of my dad's classic caprice driving back and forth through the empty landscape.  i had a cheap little telescope when i was a kid, but i always found wonder at just simply cranking my neck back and standing mouth agape staring into the infinite distance.  but even living in a rural world i never saw a shooting star until i was in college.  i took a photo class that included a 3 week driving/camping/on-the-road trip to the american west.  for a few nights, we stayed at an A-frame hunting lodge in the middle of an 11000 acre wyoming ranch and the only human light you could see was the 3 or 4 lamps glowing from the buildings on the property.  i slept alone under the stars out on the deck of the lodge the first night there and i remember feeling small, but in the sense of feeling connected.  i saw my first several shooting stars that night.  and i wanted mindy to have that kind of experience.

(photo credit: Mike Hankey/

we jumped in the van around 12:30am and stopped at steak n' shake for some late night processed poison in the form of a burger and fries.  then we drove out away from the city about 20 minutes.  we finally found a spot that felt comfortable to pull off and park for a while.  we got out and looked up.  and immediately the light show began.  shooting sparks of fire flaring here then there then over there.  i've never seen so many in such a short about of time.  and the smile on mindy's face made it worth the cold and creepy darkness out in the middle of nowhere beside some guy's busted-ass rotting old building.  i love that look of wonder and interest in her eyes.  i think mindy may want stars for christmas this year too.

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