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Watching the Stars Fall - Elf M. Sternberg
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Watching the Stars Fall
An hour before dusk on friday night, Omaha, Raen (nee' Kouryou-chan) and I all piled into the car and headed out for Rattlesnake Lake to watch the Pereid Meteor Shower. The weather promised to be exquisite, and as we drove up through the valley it looked like it was going to stay clear through the night.

The park's parking lot was expected to be closed at 9:00pm, so when we got there we chose to park on the side of the road outside the park. A

lot of people made the same decision. There were almost forty cars on the side leading to the park, and there were just as many on the other side of the road.

We walked into the park to discover that the lots were open, the bathrooms unlocked, and the grass along the waterfront already teeming with people. We lay down on the grass, in the dark, and waited.

Humans are rude. Rattlesnake Lake Park was the "recommended" site for watching the meteor shower, according to the UW Astronomy department website, as well as the Seattle Times, because it was just on the fringe of the "no light pollution" zone from the urban cores of King County, but apparently some people didn't get the memo that "no light" means "no light," as in turn off your goddamn flashlights, and there's no 3G out here anyway. The smell of marijuana filled the air (of course it did).

The moon was the worst offender, but there's not much to be done about that. It occupied the southeastern sky, drowning out all the stars around it. Someone high up on Tiger Mountain ocassionally flashed bright strobes for reasons that must have been positively Nightvalian.

And yet as we watched the sky for an hour or more, we saw the meteors fall. Just a couple, but at least two were spectacularly bright and left trails of distintegration in their wake that lasted for a second or more. Ane seemed to come right at us, a bright burst of light that drilled its way toward us before fading completely.

We decided to leave. The swarm of humanity coming in to see the peak around 2:30am was huge; there were now hundreds of cars everywhere, with three or four people per car, out for a "sanctioned" late night party watching the shower. It was surprisingly peaceful and social. There was giggling and laughter and the ocassional crack of a beer can, and then we got into our car and left.

We got home around 12:30am and poured ourselves into bed.

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