I heard once that lyrics in John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High were inspired by a night he was in the mountains soaking in a hot spring (and probably smoking pot and skinny dipping, but that wasn’t part of the story) and watching the Perseid meteor shower. He described them as “rainin’ fire in the sky,” and I have always loved the imagery in that phrase.
But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high (Colorado)
So on August 11, I packed up the girls and headed down to Crystal Mountain for an evening of star and meteor gazing atop the ski area.
The forecast called for some possible lightning, and I was worried that either the smoke of the past couple of weeks or clouds (or both, I guess) would hinder our view. As we loaded onto the gondola, the operator warned us that if the forecasted lightning came in, we’d need to evacuate. Eek! But little is gained with no risk, and up we went.
We arrived just before sunset, and wandered a bit looking for a good place to set down our chairs and blankets.
Once we were settled, we had a long wait for it to get truly dark. Thus ensued trips to the bathroom and the gift shop (where I finally caved and let everyone—including me—buy candy), and of course some spats between the girls.
Finally, with a nice window framed by smoke on one side and clouds on the other, the stars began to appear. Abby, who had been begging me to leave because she was afraid of the lightning and I think of being outside in the dark under that huge sky, was the first to see a meteor. Meg and I missed it, but the crowd all “ooooohed” and “ahhhhhhed” so it must have been a good one.
Then Meg and I saw a ginormous meteor streak most of the way across the sky, its long tail glittering and sparkling as it tore across the Big Dipper and over toward Mt. Rainier. So we were happy too.
We spent another 45 minutes watching the show—for a show it was, indeed—before Meg began begging me to take her home so she could go to sleep and for Abby to say she’d had enough.
As we descended the mountain in the gondola, it was quiet and dark and I felt like the three of us were in this special little bubble traveling through space. And Meg said, “This is so peaceful, Mommy.”
My evening was sealed with a bow when Abby said to me, “Thank you for taking us there, Mommy. That was so awesome!”