Friday evening, after a lovely free concert in the park, my group of friends took an impromptu trek about an hour east to escape the city lights and take in the Perseid meteor shower. The road was a little winding, and those of us in the back seat of the car were ready for it to be over by the time we reached a little turnout and parked, but it was ultimately very worth it.
The moon was lit in stunning fashion that night, which can put a bit of a damper on stargazing, but when I looked in the opposite direction, I witnessed a sea of stars — the quantity of which I am certainly not used to seeing. After a while of searching the skies for where the meteors might be coming from, I spotted the first big one and we all set our blankets on the ground and took in the view above. It was a really beautiful occasion (with a very comfortable ride home, thanks GC), and catching sight of those meteors was akin to a sparse fireworks show.
The real highlight of the viewing, though, for me was that for the first time in my life I actually was able to spot the Milky Way in the sky. I’ve camped and been in rural areas, but I can’t recall having ever actually seen the thick streak in the sky that is the view of our galaxy’s dense plane. I’m certain I mentioned it a couple of times that night, but I was suddenly a little child lost in the stars above… seeing something I never had before with plenty of wonder :).
Since this wasn’t a planned trip, I didn’t have my camera with me (I wouldn’t have likely wanted to distract myself from the pleasant time, anyways). So, to commemorate the evening, I decided to paint my interpretation of the sky I saw. I was tempted to elaborate on it, to give the meteor an artistic flare, but while working on the piece I quickly decided that it would simply work better as a more grounded representation — realistic, as opposed to artsy. Oh, and if you give the picture on this post a click, you can check out the full-size version… though it’s just a bunch of white dots, so I don’t know why you’d want to ;).
And there we go. It’s not an important or especially grand artwork, but it reminds me of a pretty special time, so I’ll enjoy its existence for that reason alone :).