If you missed the Geminid meteor shower on Tuesday night, don't worry: This great time-lapse video from last year's display above the southern California desert is all you need to see.
Henry Jun Wah Lee, nature videographer and Physician of Chinese Medicine, recorded the footage while on a three-night camping trip in the Alabama Hills and Joshua Tree National Park. The latter park is a strange, almost unwelcoming place. The barren land is littered with creosote bushes that create waterless "dead zones" around themselves and (durr) Joshua trees, a spiky agave that can easily cause a blood-dripping head wound. Nineteenth-century explorer John Fremont called the dagger-wielding plants "the most repulsive tree in the vegetable Kingdom." However, he probably would've been more disgusted if he had put his foot into a big pile of "cryptobiotic crust," aka "desert glue," a hidden soil layer of microfungi and bacteria that spreads via tentaclelike fibers.
Into this bizarre landscape strides Henry J.W.L., with his ultrawide Canon lens and headlamp to catch 2010's final significant meteor shower. The Geminids are known for spraying fireballs all over the sky, and the Joshua tree footage does not disappoint. Henry says he spotted dozens flaming out per hour at the display's peak. Note that the slower-moving firelines in the sky are planes.
Says the cameraman:
Because I was filming the night sky, I slept on location while the camera was clicking away. It’s a magical feeling falling asleep with nothing over my head but the sky and the universe.
Seeing the meteors also got me thinking: there are no do-overs in life. Like a meteor that burns up while entering Earth’s atmosphere, there are no rewind buttons or undo commands to make up for missed opportunities, lost time, should-haves, could-haves, mistakes or regrets. Whether we like it or not life keeps moving with or without us.
Zen. You can watch the short film below, philosophically titled "Fleeting Light."