Saturday, September 24, 2011

"The Sky is Falling!" And other Space Debris in the Garden

Henny Penny has wailed once again, and once again we ignored her. Poor Henny Penny, for this time she actually got it right!

Well, sort of. The sky was not falling, though things were certainly falling from the sky--and I don't mean the drenching rains we've been having in Delaware for what seem to be an eternity.

No.  I mean something else.

Today was momentous: a dead NASA satellite hurtled towards Earth and broke apart in the atmosphere. Major pieces were expected to survive its re-entry, and the guessing game began on whose heads those pieces would potentially fall.

We all waited with baited breath, including this elephantine spider (about twice the size of a dollar coin), which wove a massive web that measures approximately 4 feet in diameter, from the deck railing to a chair, all in hopes, I surmise, of catching a piece of space debris and then selling in on Ebay so it could retire to Florida and never face the threat of cold-induced death again.

Yes, folks: pieces of space debris reigned down upon us. Well, "us" in a generic, inclusive sense. That "we are the world" kind of meaning.

Which we know in the end means, practically, nothing.

This event, though, is now a non-event. The drama is over. The satellite on its final orbit passed over Eastern Africa and then across the Indian Ocean. It changed trajectory over the south of Australia and turned northwards over the Pacific, with North America (and our friendly neighbors to the north, in Canada) in the line of potential crash.

Yet no one in North America saw anything. Nada. Zip.

All of the pieces and parts of the satellite are now most likely resting on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, though no one knows exactly where.

Still, I ventured outside to look for pieces of space debris in my garden.

And lo and behold I found some! 

Yes, folks: space debris in my garden at 410!  Imagine!

 And here it is: a STAR!  Yes, a star. Tricyrtis x Sinonome: Toad Lily. She's large for a Toad Lily, perched atop a pendulous stem of roughly 3 feet, appearing ever the beacon in these dark days of grey-black clouds, shortening days, and much rain.

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