Yesterday was a rough day for a run. Long week at work, the spectre of even more long days next week (auditions are going to start up, so that’s after-school hours, HOORAY), and the general fatigue that the summer months and the summer heat have left me with — all of them took their toll. The alarm went off, and I’m not too proud to say it. I fell asleep again.
But something woke me up again, and I don’t know if it’s just the fact that I had set a goal to run four times this week or if something unremembered was tickling my subconscious, but there I was. I knew I had to get up. No cashing in my slacker tokens for a Friday sleep-in. It was time to lace up. (Okay, so I don’t “lace up” anymore since I’ve basically given up on running shoes, but it sounds cooler than saying “time to pull on my goofy-ass foot-gloves.)
And it wasn’t a miraculous run or anything. Pretty much as rough and unfun as any run for the past month has been. I almost don’t remember what comfortable running weather feels like — in my nightmares, it’s always 76 degrees with the relative humidity making it feel like 90. And then I wake up, and that’s the actual temperature. But at least the sky was clear.
And as I entered the first leg of my loop, I remembered — that’s why I wanted to run today. The Perseid meteor shower. I’m a little bit fascinated with the universe and with space in general, so celestial events like this hold a special obsession for me … even if I rarely get to see them. Living just outside Atlanta — one of the most light-polluted areas on the east coast — kinda puts a damper on any of those majestic sights. It would take a near supernova-level blast of light to penetrate the haze of ambient light that hangs in our night sky.
Still, every time a meteor shower rolls through, I cast my eyes skyward in hopes of seeing something, anything — a bit of first-hand evidence that there are bigger things out there, that the cosmos is still pushing and pulling at us. I’ve been disappointed every time. But this time, I saw it. A tiny flicker drew my attention up toward the southeast, and then, while I was trying to figure out if it might have been a meteorite or just a passing plane, it happened.
A shooting star. There one second, gone the next. Streaking across the sky like lightning late for a date. Blazing a glowing white scar in the black sky. Impossibly fast and impossibly bright, and then, just as impossibly gone. It was over so fast, I’m almost not sure I didn’t imagine it.
It was the only meteor that I saw, and if something hadn’t drawn my eye up at just that moment, I would have missed it.
I always get mixed up at things like this. The quiet, ineffable majesty of the cosmos works on me in ways I don’t properly understand. It’s easy to see how people mistake this sort of thing for the divine, how they read the machinations of a deity into these things that seem too awesome, too powerful, too magical for beings such as we to understand. And I could certainly fall into that trap myself, too; intimating meaning where there is none, insisting upon significance in the meaningless collision of a couple specks of galactic dust.
But things don’t always mean things. The universe doesn’t rearrange itself in order to inspire us or shock us or overwhelm us into epiphanies about the meaning of life. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, looking up at the right part of the sky.
But just because the beauty isn’t designed, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Just because the falling star wasn’t set in motion for my benefit, doesn’t mean that I can’t benefit from it.
I finally managed to see a meteor — and a doozy, at that — not because it was my time to see one. I managed to see it because I’ve wanted to see one for years, and I keep doing the best I can to try and make it happen. This time, it worked out. Maybe next time the Perseids roll around, it will, too.
And that’s life, innit?
This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.