Sleeping out under the Perseids.

Last night was the third night in a row that I looked for shooting stars. And each time I found them, whether it was sitting around a table at Parker Pie, beer in hand, friends surrounding; lying in the grass by myself contemplating life and the cosmos; or nestled into a sleeping bag next to slumbering teammates.

Every August the Perseids roll around, and Craftsbury is the perfect place to take them in. Other than a few trees blocking the view of the horizon, it’s quiet and peaceful, with no light pollution. When the stars come out, they really come out. You get the sense that you really are part of the universe, with the large, bright stars coming towards you and the smaller pinpricks of light fading away, farther in the distance.

Last night started innocently enough: Lauren and I and the biathletes who are staying with us this week (Mike Gibson, Danika Frisbie, and Carly Wynn) walked outside, across the field next to our house, and sat down in the grass. I had a cup of tea which I clutched to my chest, warding off the coolness of the night. A large cloud passed over us, obscuring the meteors. We were disappointed.

And yet… we were happy, sitting there in the grass. It was nice. We listed to the night sounds surrounding us and gradually became more and more comfortable. “You know, last year, I slept outside and watched the stars all night,” I said. “But this year, with the volume week, I feel like I should probably get a good night’s sleep in my bed.”

The murmurings began… it was so nice out…. and finally we all ran inside, grabbed pillows, sleeping bags, and quilts, and reconvened in the same spot. Before we had been sleepy and relaxed, but now we were giddy, like 7th grade girls at a slumber party. The cloud had passed, too, and we began to see spectacular meteors with tails that lingered in the night sky.

Eventually, everyone fell asleep except for me. This is because I’m a terrible sleeper even in the best of circumstances. I was awake at 11 o’clock when our housemate Troy walked in on the trail, literally feet from me, without seeming to notice; I noticed and freaked out. I was awake at 12 o’clock when my teammate Pat drove in from the Cape and unloaded his truck into the garage. And I woke up at 1 o’clock when the coyotes at the bottom of the hill had a raucous party.

I must have fallen asleep eventually, because when I woke up again, it was beginning to get light out. I lay there, content, until finally the sun was too bright to ignore. It was almost 7. Time to get up, eat breakfast, get ready to work out. The night might be beautiful and mysterious, but the day is just usual.

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