Friday, December 29, 2006

Meteorite!

On December 11, my women's circle was disbanding. We stood around the driveway and porch, chatting, enjoying the cold night air.

As we talked, time suddenly stood still for me. I watched a fluorescent green glowing ball arc across the sky over the trees. There was a yellowish-green tail arching behind it. The center of the green ball was glowing yellow. Although I only saw it for a moment, I noticed intricate details of the bizarre sight. I was impressed by the fact that there was no defined border to this thing; it had an indistinct exterior. I seemed to be moving too.

It felt like an hour that I stood with my mouth open, staring. Only one other woman saw something bright out of the corner of her eye. I'd been knocked out of my own life for an eternity, staring at this strange apparition, then dropped back onto my porch.

When I was in art school, I stood talking with a fellow student one evening. I saw a similar sight - a glowing green ball sweeping through the sky. Later I learned that it was a meteorite entering the atmosphere and landing. A piece of the galaxy, falling to earth.

My second meteorite sighting! That must be significant.

I called the meteorologist at the local weather channel. He told me that the Geminid Meteor Shower was due to start the next evening, and said that I must have seen one of the very first meteors. When I told him it was huge and glowing green with a tail, he was quite surprised. Apparently meteorites of that size were not what he expected.

A piece of a comet hurtled through the dark space between planets for untold numbers of years, then tore through our atmosphere and landed near my house. I stood on my porch on a cold night at 10:00 pm and saw it fly past.

What might it mean, to see a piece of blazing interplanetary debris landing in my neighborhood? What might it mean that I saw one in Maryland 20 years ago and one in Colorado now? Maybe it signifies big changes. Shortly after seeing that first meteorite, my marriage ended. Presumably it would be a different type of change this time.

I wonder what had happened on that comet before it broke into pieces called meteors... Did any creatures live there? How do we know? Maybe there were creatures that our instruments can't detect. What was the surface like? If a piece of the meteorite sits in someone's back yard in my neighborhood, there might be pieces of that comet's history remaining.

I wish I could find it. I'm grateful to have seen something so surprising and otherworldly, but I do wish I could find the meteorite. I'd like to hold it and dream of where it's been.

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From the Hubble Observatory's website www.hubblesite.org:

What is the difference between a meteor, a meteoroid and a meteorite?

Most of us probably have seen meteors or shooting stars. A meteor is the flash of light that we see in the night sky when a small chunk of interplanetary debris burns up as it passes through our atmosphere. "Meteor" refers to the flash of light caused by the debris, not the debris itself.

The debris is called a meteoroid. A meteoroid is a piece of interplanetary matter that is smaller than a kilometer and frequently only millimeters in size. Most meteoroids that enter the Earth's atmosphere are so small that they vaporize completely and never reach the planet's surface.

If any part of a meteoroid survives the fall through the atmosphere and lands on Earth, it is called a meteorite. Although the vast majority of meteorites are very small, their size can range from about a fraction of a gram (the size of a pebble) to 100 kilograms (220 lbs) or more (the size of a huge, life-destroying boulder).

From Wikipedia, regarding the Geminid Meteor Shower:

The Geminids are a meteor shower caused by an object named 3200 Phaethon, which is thought to be an extinct comet. The meteors from this shower can be seen in mid-December and usually peak around 12-14 of the month. The Geminid shower is thought to be intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120-160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions. The Geminids were first observed only 150 years ago, much more recently than other showers such as the Perseids and Leonids.

The meteors in this shower appear to come from a radiant in the constellation Gemini (hence the shower's name). However, they can appear almost anywhere in the night sky, and often appear yellowish in hue. The meteors travel at medium speed in relation to other showers, at about 22 miles per second, making them fairly easy to spot. The Geminids are now considered by many to be the most consistent and active annual shower. In 2005, viewing of the shower was restricted due to a full moon washing out the fainter meteors. The 2006 shower will have a less full moon.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My blog's worth


My blog is worth $3,951.78.
How much is your blog worth?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sunrises, Sunsets & Everything In Between






The cold winds blew me across deserts and prairies, past buttes and antelopes. They deposited me in the juniper-scented foothills of the Sandia Mountains, under a wide warm watermelon sunset.

I played with my 2 year old grandson, and ate green chile rellenos. I smiled and my heart grew two sizes, one for each of his years of grandma-loving life.

On the tiring long drive home, I stopped at the home of fellow bloggarina, Birdie (www.lapajaro.com). We spent just enough time together to ensure that there would be future visits and interesting gifts exchanged. Not enough time, but just enough. We discovered how much we have in common, including our hairdos and furniture! I love her eyes. All three of her birds nipped my fingers softly. My scabbed hands bear the evidence of the visit. Frankie the Pig was out at a friend's house.

We arrived back in the land of deer, foxes and Pikes Peak. No dog greeted us at our lonely door. But in a reminder of the constant renewal of life, the two bunny boys were overjoyed at our return. So was our elderly limping cat.

Life's cycles are working overtime on my behalf. Losing a father, finally meeting a new friend, missing my dog terribly, loving my two young rambunctious bunnies, playing with a little grandson, helping to ease my cat's last few months, supporting my nephew as he mourns the death of his best lifelong friend. Discontinuing with an important teacher and gaining a surprise new teacher out of the blue.

Sunrises, sunsets, and everything in between. I feel alive!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Gypsy


Two weeks ago, my beautiful, loving best friend Gypsy died suddenly of a seizure. She wasn't old. She'd been having small seizures for a year.

I'm beginning to get used to walking without my shadow beside me - to going out the door without her rapturous excitement preceding me - to going for a ride in the car alone - to working with clients all by my non-wagging self - to sleeping without hearing her running and barking in her dreams. I'm getting used to being greeted only by a silent house when I come home.

Nobody eats the cat food any more, other than the cat, so I can leave the bowls on the floor now. There isn't much red fur accumulating on the carpet these last two weeks. I haven't vacuumed as much. I don't have to stop what I'm doing every afternoon to spend five minutes quietly hugging the dog any more. That gives me more time to work.

I wonder if maybe the afternoon hugs were for my benefit.

I never wanted to be accustomed to this.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Who's There?

Knock-knock-knock-knock

...pause...

Knock-knock-knock-knock

I wondered why my mysterious early-morning visitor didn't ring the bell.

Knock-knock-knock-knock

I looked out the window and saw that nobody was at the front door. Hmm? To get to our back door you have to go through or over a locked fence into our back yard. This must be one industrious early-morning visitor.

Nobody was at the back door either.

Knock-knock-knock-knock

The knocking was twice as loud as it usually sounds when someone raps on our door to get our attention. What a mystery! Could it be that the rabbits were chewing a stick and it was knocking against an inside wall loudly? I chased down the little potential culprits, but discovered them peaceably napping under the piano.

Knock-knock-knock-knock

This time I crept up to the front door and peeked carefully out its window. There, on the front porch wall, was a large orange and brown flicker! Flickers are my favorite kind of woodpecker, because their bright orange striped and spotted feathers are so beautiful. This guy appeared to be about a foot long, or tall, or however one refers to the size of a bird. He was pecking away on our wall, which explained why the sound resonated throughout the house.

I moved. He saw me, and flew off.

Checking for holes where he pecked, I discovered the tattered remnants of a wasp nest. Good woodpecker! Wasps are wonderful things, except around our doorways. The wall behind the nest appears to be hole-free. Good woodpecker!

I'm pleased to know our house is so delicious.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Life ... has a life of its own

Just when I think I have a grasp on what my life is made of, Life happens. I'm officially putting in a request to The Committee For Overseeing The Life Details of Wandering Willow for a massive reduction in changes. If you please, Committee Overseers, a plateau of boredom would be much appreciated right about now. A week of peaceful boredom would be perfect, allowing me to get stabilized in the world as it is after the most recent tornado of change.

Unfortunately, another tornado looms just a little way up the road. I'd better put in an order for extra seat belts, as long as I'm attempting to control the uncontrollable. Learning from the jarring pain of sudden loss, I'm trying to prepare for the next one by beginning to feel it in advance.

I suspect that I'm only increasing my own discomfort. There are parables and wise phrases for times such as these, but I can't remember any at all. Maybe I'll just breathe one breath at a time and see how that works.