I can’t sleep.

So I went outside and sat on the hood and windshield of the wrecked Buick, looking east at the sky. It’s time for the Perseid meteor “shower” — actually, last night was the peak, but I slagged off and the seeing was lousy anyway. Tonight is nicely clear.

I stayed out for half an hour, and saw a few meteors. There were a couple of bright fireballs, one that left a trail of sparkles like a skyrocket, and quite a few of the nearly-invisible flashes and specks that are easily mistaken for phosphenes, the bright speckles that aren’t really there, caused by noise in the retina and optic nerve.

The descriptions of meteor showers given by astronomy articles and blogs always imply, if they don’t actually say, that the sky will be ablaze. That’s never been my experience, and tonight was no exception. It’s a flash here, a fireball trail there, and long pauses in between. The Pleiades are pretty, though I find that I can only see five of the seven sisters, and Jupiter loomed bright near the zenith. My house is too close to other houses, and my neighbor’s brightly-lit toybox, to have a really dark sky, but it’s much better than the city, where you might see Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn through the skyglow, but the stars are hardly visible at all.

Technology has spoiled me, I suppose. After forty-plus years of various combinations of blinkenlights, a few flashes of dust particles entering the atmosphere just don’t move me the way they probably should. Only mildly attracted by the show, and repelled by the mosquitoes and the early morning hint that autumn is on the way, I came back inside to the computer. After all, someone on the Internet is bound to be wrong.

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