Last night, my husband and I decided to take an evening walk around the Battery to get in some exercise while avoiding the daytime heat. It was 9PM, the sky was a deep blue black, the tide was high and the water was lapping so close up to the Battery wall you could almost touch it. The wind came in off the water and as we peered into the darkest part of the sky, we could see the big curvaceous swooping Scorpius nestled right in the middle of a faint Milky Way. The Scorpius has always been the symbol of my Charleston summer because no matter where I am, as long as there is open sky, he is right there in front of me with the reminder that these long days and hot nights don’t last forever.
Now having been an urban dweller for most of my adult life (and part of my childhood) – I never take the stars for granted and constantly seek them out. My parents raised me on the basics – Casseopia’s Chair, the 7 sisters, the Big Dipper….so in my 5th floor NYC studio apartment I would climb the stairs to the roof to catch a glimpse of Orion – the only constellation I could see in the New York night. I’ve been known to forsake hours of sleep just to get a glimpse of a particularly active Leonid meteor shower in the dead of winter. And I’ve lain on my back on the sand for hours on the edge of the Sea of Cortez, so I could identify constellations never seen before by my eyes, and rejoiced when I found the spectacular spiral of the Andromeda Galaxy.
So what’s your favorite constellation? Do you take time out to go see the stars? If you don’t, you can start tomorrow because the annual Perseid Meteor Shower will be at it’s peak. So take some beach chairs, a nice cold beverage and head out to the Edge of America. You might just be delighted.