Ranger Kathryn's Arches

January 4, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:58 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

0430: the silence swallowed everything in the gulf of night. Uncountable points of light populated the black hemisphere overhead. Once, or twice, or three times in a minute, a white streak pulled my attention to that sector; some were so beautiful they made me smile, lying cozily on my driveway.

Meteor showers are too good to sleep through up here on the mesa, where ambient light is non-existent. My wool long johns and ten-degree sleeping bag kept me toasty through 53 of the sparkling gifts before sleep tried to overtake me. I felt like a toddler on Christmas Eve, though, fearing that if I closed my eyes I would surely miss the finest, brightest, sparkliest fireball of the night.

That would have been #15. A flame streaked slowly across the southern sky, so deliberately that I strained to hear the fabric of the night being torn as an arc of light was traced on blackness. I held my breath; its tail fizzled out like fireworks fading slowly, leaving an aura of sparkles on my retina. A lifespan of one or two seconds — ephemeral beauty, just for those who will watch. Glorious.

Leave a comment about your Quadrantid viewing. 




  1. Our perch here in the Big City is sorely polluted with light unlike our former eyrie on the wilderness ridge. We have good memories of meteor-watching, star gazing and seeing the moons of Jupiter (the four big ones) through the birding scope.

    Comment by Leroque — January 4, 2012 @ 9:32 am | Reply

    • How very nice that it all started with birds.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — January 4, 2012 @ 4:12 pm | Reply

  2. i remember watching countless meteor showers AND the northern lights when i camped on the sandbars of the Mississippi River many years ago. Just breathtaking.

    Comment by Kate Kresse — January 4, 2012 @ 1:40 pm | Reply

    • Too far south for the Aurora Borealis here, but I agree that night sky-watching is an experience like no other. AND — we are about to get a telescope up here! Hip hip hooray!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — January 4, 2012 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  3. A comment came via email that I’m putting here because I want to have it forever with the post. It’s anonymous.
    “This post made me tear up and took me away from my desk … I imagined myself lying on my back in the middle of a nature center trail, 12 years ago, late at night. The one and only time I ever watched the meteor sky. I was with a boy and although that relationship didn’t work out, the memory has stayed with me all this time … thank you for letting me relive it.
    I often envy parts of the life you now lead … I find myself wishing I could do what you do, be where you are. You are one amazing person who is living their dream ——– which is BEAUTIFUL to me! This year, I’ve made it a resolution to get outside more and enjoy nature.
    Thank you for being you and inspiring me to do more with my life.”

    Comment by Kathryn Burke — January 4, 2012 @ 2:33 pm | Reply

    • I’m humbled and gratified, all at the same time. Chase your dreams, woman! Proud of you and your resolution. One step at a time…

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — January 4, 2012 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

  4. It isn’t just your subject matter and the memories and thoughts it evokes, but it is also the way you write, – the words you choose and how you put them together. There must be a name for what is poetry in prose, or prose become poetry. Your writing has become more beautiful over the time you have been blogging.

    Comment by Mom — January 4, 2012 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

    • Thank you, Mother dearest. I know you are saying that with utter earnestness and not just motherly love. It means a lot to me. When I read old posts I am reminded that one becomes better only by practicing. I’ve practiced with 480 posts now… and I feel I am finding my voice, learning about good prose, discovering tools to help me, and growing as a writer with every new attempt to express myself. And it will only get better! YOUR love of words has shaped me; I hope you know that. ((hug))

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — January 4, 2012 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

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