The Meteor Shower
By Susan Howard
We stepped out into the chill November night air. My thirteen-year-old son had asked me to take him in the early morning hours to watch the once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower.
To be honest, I wasn’t keen on driving at least an hour to get away from Kansas City lights, just so I could get a crick in my neck as I shivered in the dark along some backwoods Missouri road. I sipped coffee as we drove, my son staring out the window.
“There’s one,” he exclaimed, breaking the silence. I glanced toward the sky but saw nothing. “I imagine we’ll have to get a little further out to see much,” I replied. I had doubts about how much celestial activity we’d see. My son, though, had wanted to chance rising early to see if the prior day’s overcast skies had cleared enough to catch falling stars.
We finally arrived at a county park I thought would be far enough away to enable the best viewing possible within a reasonable driving distance. Taking camp chairs out of the trunk, we sat down, covered ourselves with a blanket, and turned our attention toward the ebony expanse. No sooner had we done so when there appeared streaks of light flashing overhead. It was as though someone wielding a piece of chalk was repeatedly and impetuously slashing at a blackboard.
“Oh cool! This is so awesome.”
He spoke the words almost reverently, shivering as he stared upward. As the meteors burned up in the atmosphere, the display was breathtaking. Suddenly, a huge streak flashed directly above us, appearing so close it seemed as though we should have heard it.
“Oh wow!” As the unexpected words escaped my mouth, I realized what I almost caused my son to miss. For the next hour, we sat craning our necks upward watching in awe the wonder unfolding before our eyes. We talked about the science behind the phenomenon, but also how amazingly creative God is.
Before I realized how much time had passed, the eastern sky began to change. The inky black was fading into a deep slate blue as stars dimmed on the horizon. We packed up and began the drive back home, chilled, but still talking about the “big one.”
The sky continued to lighten and we grew silent for a while, both of us lost in our thoughts. Mine centered on gratitude for having had the opportunity to share the experience with my son. I was so glad I had said yes when I initially wanted to say no.
“Thanks, Mom. I really appreciate your driving me out to see that.”
“You’re welcome. I am glad we got up to see it.” But all I could think was how thankful I was to have remembered who and what really matters the most.