.....it went. A streak of white light following a moving dot in the star-studded night sky. Everyone saw it. There were oohs and aahs from the assembled crowd. More were to follow, but none as bright and as long-lasting. But they came with regularity. Above the big dipper. Across Cassiopeia. Following the curve of the Milky Way. One after another. From different directions. Each one spectacular in its own way.
Even without the meteor shower the sky over the beach would have been outstanding last night. Somehow the Milky Way seemed brighter and more majestic than ever. A cloudy river of stars, it called for wonder and amazement. Even the layman knows more than Newton knew about the multitude of stars, galaxies, and nebulae. About the vast distances. The enormity of empty space. Black holes. The speed of light. Distant solar systems. An expanding universe. Planets that might harbor life. And the deepening mystery.
Lying there on the beach, gazing up into the richness of space, I was humbled. It may be the only response possible.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Black Squall, a brig loaded with circus animals that wrecked on Ocracoke in April of 1861. You can read it here.