Sunday night. 10 pm.
I was immersed.
Soaking away the rigors of a brisk country walk in the warm womb-like waters of the hot tub. Kids in bed.
The crisp winter’s evening delivered a deep, clear black sky.
Here in the Peak District it’s a balmy two degrees at best.
As I lay in my bubbling reverie, I silently contemplated the immense inky horizon billowing endlessly above me.
Orion’s belt. The plow. An enormous milky moon silently tracking across the black sky, its movement barely noticeable to the human eye.
It didn’t take long for my mind to wander to less profound, more practical matters.
Gotta get the kid’s school uniform ordered ready for the return to school.
I need to pay the credit card bill.
Dentist. How long is it since our last visit?
I wonder when the holidaymakers will reclaim the ‘tub? (It’s not ours. It belongs to my husband’s business. We’re not that posh.)
Suddenly, from nowhere, streaking angrily across the sky like a burning fluorescent torpedo, was a freakin’ meteorite.
It lit up the night like a cymbal crash from the Almighty.
Now I know you’re going to say that I’m talking utter nonsense.
But I can tell you this side of the experience, you know it when you’ve seen a bloody meteorite.
My lukewarm gin and tonic rattled furiously like that scene with the T-Rex from Jurassic Park.
Like a drowning turtle, flipped on its back, arms and legs flailing, I attempted unsuccessfully to get to my feet.
What the hell……??!!!
Still gawping at the sky, I frantically grabbed for my phone, wet fingers slipping and sliding, and dialed my mother. (I mean, who else do you call?! NASA?) All caution of a potentially submerged phone evaporated.
“Sweet Jesus!” She hollered. “Bloody typical! Just as we’re sorting the sodding virus, the aliens decide to invade! Where did it go?! They’re worth a bloody fortune!”
I tugged on my dressing gown and attempted to get into the house with stealth and speed. Wet feet slapping on the cold gravel.
Panting furiously, eyes glassy with excitement, I frantically retold the tale to my husband.
He smirked. Yeah. Of course, you did.
My stargazing stepfather called to inform me that it was probably a paper lantern.
Despite my protestations that this thing had a trajectory and was careering towards the Earth at supersonic speed, his mind was made up.
Now, I’m going to be 45 years old in two weeks. I’m well educated. I’ve run several large organizations. I am of sound mind. But like the boy who cried wolf, I was dismissed as a fraud.
No matter what, my description of this entity from a galaxy far, far away, barrelling through outer space, was lost.
Like a piece of space debris entering the atmosphere, my excitement fizzled and vanished into nothingness. So, I stomped off to bed.
Stuff you. I know what I saw.
The next morning, we awoke to an azure blue sky. Last night’s astrological drama all but forgotten. Lost in the fog of home-schooling the kids, walking our over-exuberant puppy dog, and the juggle of work and childcare.
Then I turned on the BBC.
“Meteorites Maybe Just North of Cheltenham!” Screamed the headline!
Let’s just say I made the most of it.
It’s easy to get lost in the banality of everyday existence.
Our minds contract.
But sometimes, the universe likes to remind us we are but specks of dust on a small rock, whizzing through space.
It does us no harm to remember that sometimes.
Post Script: The meteorite was eventually located to much excitement in the scientific community. Turns out it is “….a carbonaceous chondrite — a stony material that retains unaltered chemistry from the formation of our Solar System 4.6 billion years ago.”