Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Falling star

The twinkling midnight city of Minneapolis is lit up but not in operation tonight. My blog is mysteriously down too as I write, but if you're managing to read this somewhere in the future I suppose it isn't anymore. You are always in the future to me, racing off to your spaceship at the drop of a hat and managing to read my blog because all technical difficulties are ancient history in your blissfully perfect utopia of the future.

Last week the Perseid Meteor Showers came and I got very excited about them. Who doesn't love a shooting star? But as I made my plans for watching bits of space debris go burning across the sky I remembered two unfortunate things:

It was overcast.

I live in a City of lights.

There are maps and scales for light pollution to help one choose the best places to see into space. I, like maybe you, live in nearly the worst measured area for seeing the stars, an eight or nine on the Bortle Scale. On these maps of light pollution it looks like we are all burning to death here. But if we could just get ourselves out to the middle of Lake Superior everything would be a perfect "one". Stars would fill the sky, and shooting stars would flood down like rain, I mean, if it weren't cloudy,  or, er, if it were cloudy. Oh it's all so confusing!

Of course the Perseids are pretty much over now for the year. There is only me falling from the sky. I look out my windows in the night and see but a few pale stars, even though the sky is clear. Lights are everywhere, except in the great Mississippi River gorge, which is quiet and has retreated for the night into space. The city burns, but the river runs ice down its center, dark wilderness where Minneapolis quietly disappears in the night. If only the sky were down there too.

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