A full moon and the Geminid meteor shower---something I had never heard of or paid attention to until tonight as I returned from New Jersey, pulling out onto the road at around 10:30 pm. The first two streaked down from the sky as I wound through the back country roads toward route 78 (as "country" as that country gets). Number nine shot across my vision as I climbed the final hill into Binghamton near 1:20. Number 10 appeared as I passed my father's nursing care home along Route 17. Number 11 graced me just as a deer bolted across the road in front of me on 96. And Number 12 said goodnight as I drove down my road toward home.
When I saw the first one, I counted myself blessed and dedicated it to the coworkers I had just left after a holiday party full of laughter. The second I was surprised, and made a wish for Mark. When I saw the third I realized this was more than your common spate of shooting stars, and the only thing I could think of in that flash of a moment was: Peace. The fourth seemed to deserve Peace as well. The fifth brought my cats to mind, huddling on this cold cold night in their shelters down on Route 13. And then I spent some time thinking about dad and the other members of my family, and how they are doing as a progression of stars flashed by.
It was a long drive, and it was too cold to stop to nap, as I often do. I didn't realize it was below zero until I stopped for gas in Harford and the gas guy said "Cold enough for you?" I smiled and nodded...and then found out he wasn't just spouting a friendly howdy, when I went to pump my $20 worth of gas. Damn it was cold! My cup of coffee poured steam as it sat on the roof of my truck.
So did the Susquehanna River when I came down into the valley. A cloud of mist hung about forty feet above the water, a matching river of whiteness under a nearly full moon. It followed along the highway all the way to Owego, where I left it behind.
What a gorgeous, gorgeous night. It is sobered by the thought of the humans, stray creatures, and wild things, who are stuck out there in it, and aren't now sitting beside a woodstove that is now clacking with heat after I tossed in a few logs at 2:20 a.m., turning on my computer to learn my falling stars are called the Geminids.