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Perspective: Star Shower

Craig Letourneau

The stars are calling to me.

Outside my screened porch window, I can see them sparkling through the treetops, and I am compelled to go. No matter that it is well past midnight or that a bear has been visiting our Northwoods neighborhood, I rouse myself from a cozy bed and set off to see what the heavens are declaring.

Grabbing a flashlight, I head down to the dock and look up. On this soft summer night, the Milky Way ribbons its way overhead in sparkling splendor. Nearby, the constellations of Cassiopeia, the Northern Cross, and Scorpius greet me like old friends. Rising out of the east, the planet Jupiter glows like a mini-moon.

Despite the mosquitoes, I wait patiently, and soon I am rewarded with the first flash of a shooting star, for it’s the season of the Perseid Meteor Showers. Considered one of the best star shows of the year, the Perseids will reign in the Northern Hemisphere until near the end of August, peaking around August 12th.

All you need to do is get up or stay up late on a clear, dark night away from lights to witness this bevy of shooting stars: some may appear as mere wisps like the blink of a lightning bug; some a zipline of flashing glitter, and some, if you are lucky, may burst through the heavens in a huge fireball trailing a tail of gold.

So on this night, when my soul is satisfied, I head slowly back to bed with the words of Van Gogh in my heart: “For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”

I'm Marnie O. Mamminga and that's my Perspective.

Marnie O. Mamminga has been a professional essayist and features writer for more than 20 years.