Last night, after finishing a three-hour editing session that left me more than ready for some sleep, I shut down the computer, closed up the office for the night – and remembered the Perseid meteor shower. I’d reminded myself three times not to forget (and promptly forgotten within 15 minutes) but now it was late and all I really wanted was a few hours’ sleep.
Which is why I went into the living room and told my son about the meteor shower. Knowing he’d want to go out and watch it. Even though I wanted to go to bed.
To my surprise, my husband showed interest too, and ten minutes later all three of us were out in the back yard, lying on towels and lounge chair (yeah, there’s only one) looking up at the stars. And the meteors. Lots of meteors.
While we waited, we talked about nothing of consequence. Seeing Halley’s Comet the last time it came by (I did, Husband didn’t, Son was voted off the island for not being multicellular at the time), the fact that The Expendables opens today (and the guys are going to see it while I work), which of the cats was most likely hammering on the sliding glass door asking why everyone’s outside in the middle of the night (Oobie wins, 3-0), and what we would do if the family of skunks under the woodshed decided to take a late-evening stroll (throw the slowest family member out as a decoy while the others run for the house).
We spent about half an hour outside and saw over a dozen meteors, some that looked almost close enough to touch. After that we went back inside and, as usual, went our separate ways: one to the computer, one to bed, and one to the TV.
In years to come, when we remember the summer of 2010, not much will stand out. As hard as we try, life passes too quickly and with too much repetition for human recall to capture more than a snapshot here and there. But my son will remember the night he watched his first meteor shower, and so will my husband, and so will I. An extra hour of sleep means nothing compared with the chance to freeze that moment in time.
So when the next opportunity knocks, make sure you open the door. Life is too short (and otherwise too boring) not to.