Monday, December 17, 2012

Flashing through the night

Last week I spent about an hour outside late one cold night watching the Geminid meteor shower. It was a thrilling display -- astronomers predicted after midnight as many as 130 meteors might be seen each hour.

I don't know how many I saw, but it could have easily been a hundred or more. Most were little pinpricks of light, gone almost before my mind had registered seeing them. Some were brighter, arcing across large swaths of the sky, their tail giving off a bright glow. And a few were even larger -- one streaked through the darkness, broke in two, each piece then speeding onward. Even after the meteor had vaporized, two greenish-yellow tails remained visible for several seconds.

I couldn't help but be in awe. Depending upon their origin these meteors had been floating in space for thousands to millions of years, just chunks of metal and rock drifting for millions upon millions of miles. Then last week they collided with earth and gave off a brief but brilliant display.

I am a relatively young person, hopefully with most of my life ahead of me. I just started what I hope is a long and successful writing career. I most definitely don't want to flash quickly and then be gone like so many of those Geminids. However long this lasts -- both my life and my writing career -- I hope it leaves a brilliant, beautiful trail that others will enjoy for years to come.

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