The alarm I set for 3:50 AM is blaring in my ear. Why the F did I do that. I open my eyes to a glowing sphere of stars packed so tightly together that I am sure you could not squeeze another in anywhere. The sky wears the Milky Way like a sash that declares someone prom queen, or miss universe. I’d vote for it any day. I remind myself that the waxing gibbous moon has just set. None of these stars were visible 4 hours ago because of it’s glow.
The plan is to get out of my sleeping bag and get some pictures of the stars, but boy is it chilly out. I go back and forth in my head for about 5 minutes. 4 am is not a great time of day to convince yourself to do anything.
As I survey the skies above me, marveling in the vastness, the smallness of myself, I see a quick flash of light in the north west quadrant of the sky. “Forrest!!” I yell “Did you see that!?”. Poor Forrest, sleeping on the ground right next to me, mumbles something about trying to sleep and rolls over. I see another shooting star right above us in the sky. “Dude!” I yell. Forrest opens his eyes and stares up with me. Another shoots just south of us. “Did you see that one?” he sleepily asks. “Yeah”.
"Have you seen the stars in the Southern hemisphere?” he asks. Of course I haven’t. I haven’t gotten to travel nearly as much as I’d like to. We chat for a while about the best stars we’ve seen, until Forest is falling asleep again. I keep pestering him every time another shooting star pops up. He steadily grows less interested until at last he is annoyed and wants to sleep. Eventually he tells me he doesn’t care any more and that we both should go back to sleep. I tell him I simply can’t at this point. Forrest says “ok, Jon. I’ll stay up to see one more, then I’m sleeping, ok?”
The words had scarcely left his mouth when a brilliant point of light pierces the sky, so bright that it lights up the ground around us. It tears slowly from east to west, leaving grey smoke in it’s wake, like a firework on fourth of July. We explode in laughter. Nice one God, classic dad joke. We stay up for another 30 minutes after that, purely from the adrenaline. Easily the coolest shooting star I’ve ever come across. Forrest is cooler than me, he’s seen better. But that didn’t matter at this point.
Our laughs grew steadily quieter till they gave way to snoring. The last thought I had before I cashed out was to pat myself on the back for that 3:50 alarm. Couldn’t have timed it better.