Article ID: 3730
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 6,444
Times Read: 7,480
Author: M Macha Nightmare
Posted: November 23rd. 2001
Times Viewed: 7,480
An Amazing view from California
by Macha Nightmare
Corby and I went up on Mt. Tamalpais last night to view the meteor showers. Wow! And Wow again!
It's a long, windy, two-lane road up the mountain, with few places to pull off. There's a parking lot at the top, which was, as I anticipated, full to bursting. People were parked all over the place along the road. We finally found a place to park and got out and walked up the hill a bit. There isn't much in the way of places to walk, if you know this country at all. It's steep coastal hills of Franciscan Complex, shoved up there by the collision of the North American and Pacific tectonic plates. So one side of the road is steep upwards from where the road has been cut out of the rock, and the other is steep downwards.
Where we finally parked, there was a group of drunk younger folks making a bit of a ruckus, nothing hostile, just a noisy party. And in the other direction was a jerk playing loud reggae from his SUV. He didn't want to turn it off. We stayed there for about a half hour. The night was crystal clear and there are no visible lights up there in Mt. Tam State Park, except for occasional headlights of passing cars, all up there looking for a spot from which to watch the showers. There was even one idiot up there who kept riding a skateboard down the hill -- steep hill, curves you can't see around, pitch dark, and cars coming by every now and then. Normally this place would be empty at 1:30 in the morning, but last night it was swarming with folks out to see the meteor showers.
It seemed to me like something you want to do in relative silence. At least, *I* did. But that fellow with the reggae -- even when the CD ended, he just put on another one. Finally, we drove back up the hill, to where there had been no parking spaces when we first arrived but where by this time some cars had left so we found another, quiet place to watch. Also by this time, lots of SUVs (we live in a place where there's a plethora of bigger-the-better status cars of all kinds, especially the loathesome, gas-guzzling, polluting SUVs that seem to have a special brand of super-obnoxious drivers) had parked right on the road, leaving one single lane for traffic going both ways on a road with curves you can't see around. Okay, that's it for my kvetching. Now for the glory.
Wow! Beautiful streaks of bright light, of all sizes and intensities, came again and again from all directions in all parts of the sky. Some seemed to come in clusters, two or three or four together. Others came solo. Some made long, wide trails in the sky. Some made moderate trails. Some merely flickered, but you could tell they were meteors. It was utterly breathtaking! When you see them, you know why they're called showers, because that's exactly what they are. You feel like you're being showered with glitter as they streak across the dark night sky. You can't help but feel blessed to be alive, to be able to witness such celestial beauty. Out there in the night air that wasn't too cold.
Well, that's how Corby and I spent our Saturday night, coming home around 3 a.m. Hope others took advantage of this opportunity. Feel fortunate to live in a place where we had such good visibility and didn't have our customary fog to prevent our seeing them. The heck with buildings! As a Pagan, this is my church.
M Macha Nightmare
Location: San Rafael, California
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