November 18, 2009

The Hooverville under the stars and in the fairway

Two nights ago, I found myself unable to sleep and so with a friend of mine, who was drunk with the pride of getting a high-paying job offer (as well as alcohol), misadventured out to the Dartmouth Golf Course at 4 a.m. to see the Leonid Meteor Shower. This particular astrological spectacle occurs every every 33 years, and while the best viewing of it this year was in China (at ~300 meteors per hour), Hanover at 4a.m. with its ~30 meterors/hour wasn't too bad either.

We made it out to the golf course, stopping once to answer a mountain biker's question of where it was. Wading through the freezing mud, which is inconveniently invisible in the oily dark of the night, a number of rather brilliant streaks of light briefly scarred the cloudless sky and alerted us, by the resulting shrieks of pleasure, to the astounding number of students hidden around us. We climbed the large hill, and if you've been out there you'll know which one I mean. Atop, we found hoovervilles of students, pitched in blankets and sleeping bags, sharing in each other's company and the brilliance of atmospheric phenomena. While the identities of each person up there were indistinguishable, the smell of marijuana was not.

The overall shower was interesting, if not spectacular. Meteors were few, but cool to see, and more appreciable given their brevity and small number.

The point that I want to make in this story, other than to draw attention to late-night gallivanting that does not involve a masked graduate student with a light saber, is to point out that these happenstance moments -- where students are naturally drawn together by the spontaneity of an event -- are what we will remember when we look back on college decades after graduation. Appreciate them when you find them, and actively seek them out.

Got a story from that night? Share it in the comments.

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