Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stop & Smell the Roses

For the last few nights right around 9:30pm, Kev and I have been spending some quality deck-time. The weather so far this summer hasn't been the greatest, but it's been pleasant enough to sit on the deck. The bonus is, the hundreds of fireflies fluttering over the tall grass & fields, twinkling & flashing like tiny, living Christmas lights. Those little critters have just got to be one of THE coolest things, our Heavenly Father ever made.

After sitting on the deck last night and watching them, I couldn't help but think about just how amazing God's creation really is. Not only did He create insects with built in lights, but He created such an amazing array of beautifully colored song birds that sing the most melodic tunes for me every morning. Then there's the "wildlife kingdom" complete with the stunningly beautiful Jaguar, Wolf, Gazelle... I could sit here and list so many animals. God's creation is nothing short of truly breathtaking.

In just a few short weeks, you and I will get to see yet another of His creation, in a remarkable display in the night skies. I'm referring to the Perseid meteor showers that take place every August. If you've never seen them, prepare to be amazed and make sure you bring a lawn chair. If you enjoy seeing a shooting star, imagine for a moment seeing hundreds of them, for hours on end. I first started watching them about 15 years ago, and while some years are better than others (clearer skies, moon v. no moon) I'm always delighted to see such a fantastic light display. This year's Perseid showers will peak (most meteors per hour) on Sunday, August 12 , coinciding with a New Moon, which means the skies will be dark with plenty of visible activity. A few tips to get the best view:
1. Avoid Light Pollution. If you're in the city, take a drive out to the country where there are as few manmade lights as possible.
2. Find a clear spot & look up. Generally you'll want to look to the northeastern skies without obstruction of trees or tall buildings, but if you're in a good spot without light pollution, as soon as your eyes become accustomed to the night sky (it usually takes about 10-15 minutes), you'll see the showers no matter which direction in the sky you're looking.
3. While peak time is usually just before sunrise, and peak night is 08/12, you can step outside at 11pm on any given night (usually) for up to a week before and a week after peak night, and see them. Peak night is best though, so if you can get yourself out of bed at around 3 am to go outside and watch, you wont be disappointed!

So while it's still summer and you can enjoy the opportunity of spending ample time out of doors, do yourself a favor and unplug (no, don't take your wireless laptop outside with you!) and get out there and enjoy the world God made. Smell the flowers, go to the beach, listen to the songbirds, or maybe go to the zoo, aquarium or local bird sanctuary. Or, pitch a tent in your yard (or go camping that weekend prior) on August 12th and treat yourself to an amazing light show, courtesy of our most gracious God. Admission is free for the whole family, and if it's your first meteor shower, it'll be a night to remember.