I’m not sure I’ll be up after midnight tonight to try to catch the Perseid meteor shower. I haven’t even found any real indication online that we’ll be able to see it around here.
But the idea of staying up late and being out under the Hoosier summer sky really takes me back.
When I was a young adult, my friends and I were night owls. Most weekends, when I didn’t have school or work, I was up all night, greeting the dawn with the satisfaction of a night spent in the company of buddies — and the first twinges of a hangover. But we didn’t spend those nights outside. We were more likely to have spent our evening and night moving from restaurant to movie theater to midnight showing to somebody’s house, where we stayed up late watching TV and chattering like geeky monkeys.
Back then, nighttime wasn’t a time for falling asleep exhausted from a day of obligations. It was playtime.
But even years earlier, when I was growing up, I loved the summertime night sky.
I fell asleep each night with the window in my upstairs bedroom open. I usually placed my bed where I could see out the widow. Since we lived in the country, my view was of the cornfield across the road, the railroad track on the other side of the field and the night sky above.
I’ll forever associate the mournful sound of a train whistle, the rustle of wind among cornstalks and the deep, dark blue of a country sky.
I still remember seeing “shooting stars” — maybe the Perseids, although I’m not certain — out my window on moonless nights. They were more than a show. They were my nightlight.
(Note: The photo above is not out my childhood window. It’s an iPhone picture I took recently, at dusk, not far from where I live today.)