The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is officially over. Newspapers, TV stations, blogs, journals, commentaries of all types are doing their obligatory wrap-up of the week's events. And that's what I expected to be doing, too. Except very early Sunday morning there was another event that may not be quite as interesting to most people, but it made a bigger impression on me and definitely provided a little more intellectual stimulation. I'll get to that in a minute. First, a few words about the Rally. I just wasn't into it this year. I never get too excited, but I do enjoy taking in the sights every year. And there are some sights to see all right. Some of which I wish I could un-see. Sometimes there's a good concert. This year, though, there wasn't anybody we cared enough about to pony up the $100+ price tag for tickets and a couple of beers. Or even a $10 cover charge for that matter. However, I did come across a rockin' little combo from Kansas City called The Rumblejetts. So, if you ever see that name on a sign outside some roadhouse along a stretch of two lane blacktop somewhere in the heartland, pull on in. It'll be fun. Speaking of fun - one thing I do enjoy every year during the first full week of August is watching people watching other people. Like this guy who we will just call "the creeper" ...........
This past weekend was the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. I missed the Leonids in November of last year, so I didn't want to miss this one which was billed as being just as spectacular. But I almost did miss it. When I went to bed Saturday night it was "a dark and stormy night" as Snoopy used to say in the Charlie Brown comics. But I was hopeful and set the alarm for 2:30. It was about 2:40 when I crawled out of bed (thanks to the snooze button) and I walked outside into a perfectly clear and bright summer night. My wife followed me out onto the patio and we settled down into some slightly damp, but still comfortable, wicker chairs. I lasted longer than she did, and was treated to a pretty good show under a bright crescent moon. I was hoping for the ones that shoot all the way across the sky leaving a trail of light nearly from one horizon to the other. The ones I saw burned out much more quickly. But it was still a very cool experience. And one that caused my mind to wander. By the way, it doesn't take much to make that happen, but this night's show made me think a little deeper, focus a little more clearly, and sparked a few fond memories. Like one from my youth about a place we called "the cornflake bowl." It was a spot in the Black Hills, not far from town, where the stars shined brighter than any other place. I don't think I could find it now. But that's ok. It wouldn't be the same as it was all those years ago anyway. But I will never forget that sky and those stars on that night.
A passage from one of my favorite books also came to mind. I couldn't remember it all exactly. So I looked it up:
He stared up at the stars: and it seemed to him then that they were dancers, stately and graceful, performing a dance almost infinite in its complexity. He imagined he could see the very faces of the stars; pale, they were, and smiling gently, as if they had spent so much time above the world, watching the scrambling and the joy and the pain of the people below them, that they could not help being amused every time another little human believed itself the center of its world, as each of us does. - N e i l G a i m a n , S t a r d u s t
If you were out and saw the meteor shower you were probably dusting off some old memories, too. These things have a way of sparking some recollections, providing inspiration, or just making you think. All or any of that is good. We need time to be alone with our thoughts. To relax, reflect, or just to see where those thoughts take us. Because thinking is the best way to travel. I heard that somewhere. Words of a song maybe. Always thought it was probably true. Anyway, if you missed this one, the Leonids will be back in November. Set your alarm for 2:30 a.m. That will give you one or possibly even two hits on the snooze button. But don't roll over. Get up and take a nice long relaxing meteor shower. It's something everyone should do. At least once.