Catch a Falling Star

Sunday, November 18, 2001
Up in Big Bear

Greetings ,

Last night, I fought off sleep to watch the biggest Leonid meteor storm in decades at 2 a.m.  Thousands of meteors per hour were expected to rain over North America and Hawai'i. The last big storm was in 1966; the next one is expected in another 33 years.  

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day

For love may come and tap you 
on the shoulder some starless night
Just in case you feel you want to hold her
You'll have a pocketful of starlight
~ Lyrics as sung by Perry Como, Audio

Away from city lights and above the clouds, Big Bear is the best place in Southern California to stargaze, and we were determined not to miss this light show. This was our chance to catch a falling star, put some starlight in our pockets, and get starry-eyed. Heh.

We held our vigil in the living room, feeding a roaring fire in the fireplace, and snuggling in front of the TV with our dog-kids. Next to the front door were our ski jackets, boots, scarves, hats and afghan wraps, fresh out of storage at the ready.

Earlier in the evening, we experimented with a couple of Thanksgiving recipes, enthusiastically recommended by Mountain Mama, our local paper's food columnist. Can you resist this come-on?

"No turkeys here. Yummy yams and onion pie ... oh my! These (recipes) are easy, uncommon, and absolutely delicious. You are already famed as an experienced cook. These will ratchet that rating up several notches."
~ Mountain Mama, Elizabeth Stevens, Big Bear Life

We sliced, peeled, quartered, steamed. baked and pureed, and the resulting sweet onion-bacon pie and a yam-apple purée, made with fresh yams and tart green apples were wonderfully delicious, hearty, and colorful. With a few tweaks, they'll be the perfect accompaniments to this Thursday's dinner, as well as all winter long. 

Click here for recipes for 
Onion Pie with Bacon and Yummy Yams 'N Apples

We underestimated the soporific effects of a full dinner with a bottle of fine wine. All four of us fell sound asleep. Fortunately, DH had earlier set the oven timer for 2 a.m. When it did buzz, I was deep into delta sleep -- dead asleep, unwakeable, unphased by it and two barking dogs. When DH and the dogs finally managed to rouse me awake, I was having a vivid, lucid dream of ... what else... crawling into a warm bed!  

Bundled up, we resolutely walked out into the cold night. Bright and shiny against a clear, moonless night sky, the three stars of Orion's belt were directly over our front yard. I immediately caught sight of an elongated streak of light -- a shooting star -- a falling star -- a meteor -- a Leonid -- sweeping across the sky.  

What's a Leonid?

"A meteor is a momentary streak of light in the sky caused by a piece of cosmic flotsam burning up as it plows into Earth's atmosphere at high speed. The doomed object itself, a meteoroid, is typically a piece of rock or clod of dust between the size of a sand grain and a pebble. On any clear, moonless night, a skygazer far from city lights will see at least a few sporadic meteors. But at certain times of the year we encounter swarms of meteoroids that have boiled off of comets and now litter their orbits. When we do, tens or hundreds of meteors can be observed over just a few hours. This is a meteor shower." ~ Sky & Telescope's press release

DH decided that the best view was at the dam a few minutes away, and bleary-eyed, I trudged behind him to his truck.The unobstructed view over the lake was indeed perfect for stargazing, but traffic was busier than expected.  Like deer-caught-in-headlights, I was being blinded by cars headed for the dam. We drove back to the undisturbed darkness of our front yard home, and plopped our lawn chairs and ourselves in the middle of it.

In spite of my unshakable sleepiness, I remembered the Disney theme, the 1940 Academy Award-winning song from the movie, Pinocchio:  

When you wish upon a star,
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme.
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do.

Fate is kind.
She brings to those to love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing.

Like a bolt out of the blue,
Fate steps in and sees you through.
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true.

~ Leigh Harline with lyrics by Ned Washington
Song history

I wished upon each falling star. If Jiminy Cricket is right and no request is too extreme, we can expect world peace to come anytime now.  Like a bolt out of the blue. 

We did not see thousands of falling stars a minute last night. Just one here, one there.  Our eyes "caught" oh, about 30 in a half hour's time.  

This was no rain of fire as in 1833, and our starry-eyes soon turned into heavy sleepy-eyes. And brrrrr, at the 6000 foot elevation in November, we may as well have been in the middle of the Arctic Circle.  Yup, it was "colder than a witch's tit" in a brass brassiere -- or at least as cold as a well-digger's butt in January -- out there.  (These local colloquialisms are colorful!)

Our bodies were begging for warmth. With our pockets brimming over with starlight, starry-eyed, and wishes made, we staggered inside, climbed the stairs, and fell asleep as soon as -- you got it, our heads hit the pillows.

It'll be another 33 years before this celestial light show reappears. Just think, when DH and I are 83,  we won't have to get up in the wee hours of a November morning again. 

Been there, done that. We'll just reread this journal entry.

For those who missed it: 

"Life is a Gift."

Author Unknown

P.S.  If you would like to share a portion of yourself  with words, in response to this journal entry, you may do it here.  

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
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