... the best star showers of my lifetime ...
On the shore of Lake Champlain nestled a small campground where
everyone became a friend of everyone else within ten minutes.
Originally the location had been a summer camp meeting site, rented
by churches for a week or two at a time. Little cottages surrounded a
central building with kitchens, a dining room and a game room with
card tables and ping pong. The large lawn gently sloping to the
lakeshore was divided into small campsites around its perimeter
leaving a small field for games and conversation.
We spent two August weeks at Camp Skyland. Many of our fellow campers
were Canadians taking summer courses. The tap-tap of typewriters was
a common sound at night, unusual for a quiet spot on the shore.
During the day swimming and games occupied the children along with
sledding down a small hill and across the lawn. This particular sled
had its runners replaced with wheels from a wagon so it steered just
as if it were traveling on snow. Hardly a moment went by that the
little sled was not in motion.
The daytime activities continued into the late summer nights with
little or no moon shining down on our little ring of tents and pop-up
trailers. On Thursday evening, Roger, a fireman who acted as the Pied
Piper of the group, traveled door-to-door announcing,“Tonight’s the
night. Be in the field at midnight. No flashlights.” We were game,
so at midnight we awakened our sons, then six and seven, and stepped
out into the pitch dark to see what was going on.
Roger instructed everyone to lie down on their backs on the damp
grass. As our eyes adjusted to the night sky, we could hardly
believe what we saw. With no electric lights for miles in any
direction we experienced the star showers appearing so close that we
could touch them by reaching out our hands. These were the most
beautiful and numerous of our century – twelve to fifteen shooting stars
per minute – breathtaking, glorious, a gift from God.
The meteor showers occur every August, but none has ever equaled that
night at Camp Skyland, 1967.
September 6, 2013