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There’s a meteor shower tonight. It’s called Perseid. Meteor showers happen when the Earth moves through a meteor stream, which sounds like poetry but is reality. This particular shower has been observed every August for at least 2000 years, and Wikipedia tells me that in early Europe the night-sky light show was called “tears of St. Lawrence.” I have yet to find out why it was so called, but I do know that St. Lawrence was a matyr who was roasted on an iron stove. So.

I hope to stay up long enough to see the meteors falling tonight, and I hope that if I’m awake at the right time—between 2 and 4 am is ideal, according to one source, but anytime after midnight should be good, and that’s 20 minutes from now!—I’m not so close to the city that the lights around here make it hard to see. That’s the suburbs for you. It’s boring at night, but not all that dark. Apparently these meteors will go whizzing by at the rate of around one per minute. Is anyone else planning to watch?

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Astronomically, the moon is at apogee right now. This means it’s in its furthest point from Earth in its elliptical orbit around us. Astrologically, it has been representative of different ideas, including the traits associated with what is sometimes called the dark or black moon: the dark side of human nature that we tend to subvert, ignore and deny, yet is present in all of us. Spooky.

Know how I know? My Farmer’s Almanac tells me so. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is one of the best reference books to have around your house, and a copy only costs $5.99. It’s teeming with information about astronomy (as they point out, that’s what makes it an almanac), gardening, and weather, and they still include interesting dates and facts from the old liturgical calendar. I page through this book often and have even been inspired to write poems based on certain oddball turns of phrase in there. The best thing about it is it’s a part of American history, published continuously since 1792 when George Washington was serving his first term as president.

A few naturey things to blog about today.

First, it’s a full moon. The second full moon of the month of May, which is a phenomenon we call a “blue moon.” May’s full moon is called the Full Flower Moon. Coming up in June is the Full Strawberry Moon. It’s a draw which name is lovelier, I think.

It was blazing hot and humid here today but I had to run a few errands and since I don’t drive that meant I had to do some walking. After I hit up the library and the post office I dragged my sweaty carcass back to my apartment building. When I stepped into the courtyard what did I see but a rabbit lying in the grass on its belly with its front feet straight out in front of him and his back feet behind him. Like a housepet. He didn’t even look especially terrified to see me so near to him. Beginning last spring I starting seeing tons of rabbits near here and I occasionally saw them acting like this—totally relaxed, seeming to feel very safe. I wonder if they don’t really have many predators here. In the cool grass in the shade this one looked very sweet, and cooler than I felt.

The third thing is this. I saw my sister today, and she told me that the arboretum where she is a gardener got a phone call this morning. It was from a woman in the area who had found a tiny fuzzy baby owl on its own on her front lawn when she left her house to go to work. Why did she call an arboretum? Guess she didn’t know what else to do, and as my sister’s boss figured, she thought owls–>trees–>arboretum. Anyway, they called the
TriState Bird Rescue and Refuge who came to get him. TriState is awesome. They do a lot of good work on a small scale like with this baby owl and on a much larger scale, whenever there is an oil spill or other disaster that has injured birds or destroyed their homes. They also run an adoption program which allows you to give a little money to support either a species or a resident bird that lives at the refuge because they were unable to be released back to the wild. I have given this to my mom for Christmas for the last few years; she’s been the “proud parent” of peregrine falcons and brown pelicans in addition to me and my sister.