Teabox Tales - The Perseids (As Seen From The Suburbs)
I wrote this little piece for one of my modules last term, and I'm actually pretty proud of it! It is based on the absolutely magical experience I had watching the Perseid meteor shower in August 2020. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy for me to watch it again this year, though I'm hoping I have better luck next time around.
By some miracle, it is utterly cloudless on tonight of all nights, the sky like aventurine glass on display in all of its complexity. Capella shines like the brightest ring in a jeweller’s window, and the shape of Perseus can be seen with a squint, like a game of cosmic dot-to-dot. Wrestling the stiff black deckchair backwards in the dirt brings Cassiopeia into view, its radiant stars worth every second of neck pain caused by craning up to see them.
A chipped mug of lukewarm chamomile tea lays forgotten on the ground, cradled by a bunched-up wool cardigan. They are not needed on this mild summer night, yet they lay there regardless.
The grass is thinning and patchy, torn up like a threadbare carpet by an overzealous mower some days previous. The other plants aren’t faring well either; deadheaded dog-roses and pink pock-marked hydrangea given no care or common sense. But the night is gracious with the sins she’s willing to hide.
A skinny little calico thing trots merrily onto the scene, oblivious to the ancient stellar dance occurring just above her head. From more flattering angles she’s perhaps a cat, though swathed in the shadows she’s merely a nuisance. She’s a nameless thing; belonging to no one and coming from nowhere. The unkempt garden will never be her own. Her scratches at the rough canvas of the deckchair go entirely unheeded and she soon disappears over the fence and off into cedar hedgerows.
Then, the whole world holds its breath as a thin stripe tears silently across the sky, unmatched in its white-hot brightness. The universe is whispering. A secret has been laid bare to the few who care to watch. It disappears mere moments after its arrival, leaving not even a trace.
These are The Perseids, as seen from the suburbs.