Friday, September 14, 2012

A Unique Window

“It looks like a universal battle,” my wife said. Tuesday night the clouds surrounding our little valley lit up with lightning. There were big flashes that lit everything up and rods of lightning directed toward the valley. It was difficult to focus on the road in front of my car on the way home the storm was so engaging. We went to sleep by the lightshow outside of our window.

We have a unique window on three shows playing in the Heavens throughout the four seasons. Summer brings thundershowers and lightning storms in late July and August. When I first moved to the desert I would sit on my car with my ten year old daughter and watch at lightning ringed the valley we live in. You’d think that I would get bored with it. Every year there is at least one dramatic show of light that captures my interest.

The Perseid meteor showers come late in August and signal that Fall is on the way. Being a southern Californian that does everything with my car means my car was also there for this amazing show. Joshua Tree National Park is known for smog free, light pollution free viewing of the stars. With car parked I lay down on my trunk and watch as stars streak across the sky. Flaming balls of fire they plunge toward the Earth in numbers nearing fifty per hour. If the calendar doesn’t allow one to catch the Perseid shower the year ends with the Geninids meteor shower which is also spectacular.

Where Summer brings lightning Spring, Winter and Fall bring great sunsets and sunrises. The locals constantly comment on the marvelous sunsets seen here. Perhaps it is because the view is wide, long and open uncluttered by trees and buildings. Perhaps we are closer to Heaven or because the air is thinner. Whatever the reason the sunsets come in glorious colour and shadow. I discounted the suns’ rising and setting in the summer but this season has good ones too especially if colored by the smoke of a local or distant fire.

Monsoon season is over here. I am glad the overbearing moisture has left the air so we can once again breathe and use our evaporative coolers. It is bittersweet though as I miss the large glowing cloud formations and the lightning that often accompanies them. The Perseids being over I mark my calendar for December when the Geminids arrive. Until then I will enjoy the crisp air and the startling sunsets as they catch me unawares once again.

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