It was the classic black hole experience.

  • Monday, December 15, 2014
  • 0

A   LONG   TIME    AGO    IN   A      GALAXY   FAR,   FAR
A week ago Jerry came knocking on my door to inform me that the skies were clear and therefore it was an ideal opportunity to go night running in search of a Geminid meteor shower. These sorts of proposals are de rigour for Jerry and they no longer raise my eyebrows. Unfortunately for him he got sucked into the maelstrom that is my family and instead ended up watching Star Wars on DVD with us. No night running, just Darth Vader, light sabres, death stars, popcorn, smelly feet and vinyl meteors. It was the classic black hole experience.
But this week he was back like a boomerang, his dogged and magnificently bearded face tracking me down to the local coffee shop. Because I'm a coffee whore he bought me a cappuccino and we agreed to meet after nightfall and take my son searching too.The three of us penetrated the sub zero temperatures of the local nature reserve at 20H00 in head torches and monkey feet, mentally shuffled through the best options for star gazing before deciding on the ski slope, a long grassy downhill over arched by some big starry sky. Jerry and my boy fiddled around with a compass, a scrap of grubby paper annotated with scrawled numbers and an iPhone taped to a tripod whilst I enjoyed the peace and the stars.The iPhone was loaded with an app designed to photograph the sky and once it was strategically aligned according to the scrawled notes we all turned off our lights and settled down to wait in the dark and the crackling frost. We found the Big Dipper, the constellation of Perseus and nebula. We talked about the birth and death of stars. These are memories that I won't trade for anything, the camaraderie, the education, the foolishness and the fun. The unique way of spending a Saturday night. Our toes got cold, so cold that they hurt and then went numb but it was worth it. Our mission accomplished we returned to running in the dark past the cemetery and the houses with a billion Christmas lights that will never overtake the stars.