Ever since I can remember, I've always been fascinated by anything celestial. Outer space is simply a topic I can never grow tired of, so my excitement over news of meteor showers should not be a surprise to anyone who knows me. After all, I've been waiting to see one all my life.
Growing up in the Philippines, I've never had the privilege of witnessing this celestial event. There was always something that kept me from viewing and it could be anything from the event being too late for my bedtime, or I didn't hear about it, it was too cloudy or stormy, or it was just impossible to see because I was in the Southern hemisphere. All these frustrated me and so this time around, when all the conditions seemed ripe, I vowed not to miss it.
I marked it on my calendar. I made sure to stay informed on the best hours for viewing. They said the Perseid meteor shower this year would be very visible since it would be a dark, moonless night. Add to that the fact that I live in the boonies so there's not much light pollution to compete with. I felt optimistic to the bone and was giddy at the thought that this would be my lucky night!
The first time I stepped out last night was around 10 p.m. I went to our front porch, looked up, kept looking up until my neck got strained. Nothing. No shooting stars. Regular stars were abundant and I still felt happy and blessed to have such a stunning view of the constellations from my front yard. But tonight I wanted more but it wasn't there yet. So I stepped back inside and tried to keep myself awake as best I could. I read that the peak viewing time would be around 1 a.m. central time and so I watched a movie and set an alarm.
At exactly 1 a.m. I grabbed a chair and sat by the window of an upstairs room on the front of our house. From there I had a good view of the vast sky. While waiting for my light show to begin, the romantic in me kicked in (as it always does, 90% of the time) and realized that this experience has a lot of parallelisms with falling in love.
|Perseid Meteor Shower 2012|
Image by: Tucker Hammerstrom
You have to be in the right place at the right time. You can wait and stare and strain your neck looking out for this rare event, keep yourself awake, consumed by eager anticipation, but if you've got the time or location wrong, you won't see a thing. You simply won't find it. As is true with Love, a graceful confluence of different elements is necessary for everything to work out.
You have to decide if you really want it. Most often than not, seeing a shooting star means staying up really late and at least for me, that requires serious effort and dedication. Patience is also certainly required because you don't know exactly when and where you'll see it appear. Last night, I almost gave up but I kept telling myself that I'm almost 42 and have never, ever seen a single shooting star all my life. It was time, I knew I wanted it badly and was certain I'd only regret it if I didn't try at all. The same is true for love. It's never easy and only those who are sure of what they want and that they really want it are bound to find it. Love demands dedication and sacrifice.
It's rare, but if you miss it, don't beat yourself up. It will happen again. On the slim chance that it doesn't, at least not within your lifetime, then remember that there are other important things to keep you busy. Remember that you can still be—or actually already are—a complete person even without your meteor shower sighting, or a romantic relationship for that matter.
Enjoy it while it lasts and just be in the moment. You know that when you see a shooting star it's fleeting. This is why you just have to keep your eyes on the sky, enjoy the experience and the privilege of witnessing this rare event. Embrace that the promise of forever and constancy are impossible in all things. The sooner you accept this, the deeper the joy you might derive in every moment.
The special ones, the truly bright, distinctive ones, will take your breath away and will leave an impression that could last forever. Last night, I felt truly lucky and blessed that the very first one I saw streak across the sky was a large and bright one. It almost seemed like a fireball that dissipated just as quickly as it appeared. I was beyond fascinated and I know I'll never forget that magical sight. Sometimes some of us get lucky too with the people who love us and with whom we build relationships. Sometimes we cross paths with remarkable souls who are not that easy to forget and change us forever. Treasure that and treasure the fact that though it might have been fleeting, loving and being loved by such exceptional people are enduring gifts. As for the forgettable ones, well, they were still there for a reason and if anything, at least they must have been entertaining...somehow.
Did you enjoy last night's light show? Did you get into a romantic mode as well? If you want to watch the Perseid meteor shower, you might still catch it tonight. You may not see as much, but I've read you can still get lucky!