Saw a falling star tonight, or a shooting star, if you prefer. That’s not really too unusual. I drive in the desert, at night, so it’s more out of the ordinary when I do not see a falling star. What made this sighting noteworthy is, it didn’t fizzle out in mid-air like many of them do. I watched it all the way to the horizon and then saw a sudden glow like there was an explosion on impact with the ground. Probably just a little fire and not an actual explosion but from my vantage point it looked massive.
The incident reminded me of a teacher from school who told us falling stars, or any other objects falling from space, NEVER make it to the Earth. The objects burn up in the atmosphere, she said. And those craters we see, they’re a naturally occurring phenomenon.
I may have only been in grade school, but I had several problems with her theory. A theory that she stated as fact. First, that a teacher, supposedly a “science” teacher didn’t know that a falling star is actually a meteor was a little odd. Equally perplexing was that she didn’t know a meteor becomes known as a meteorite when it impacts the Earth. That should be a clue that some things falling from space DO make it to the ground. And as for the craters, yes they are naturally occurring—because it’s quite natural for a crater to form when a meteor strikes the ground!
Sometimes, a guy should just stay quiet. I know this; I just never could seem to do it. I’ve always felt compelled to point it out when someone is “teaching” something that obviously they know little about. So, of course, I spoke up. I figured if a grade school kid knew about meteors and meteorites, the teacher probably should. I considered it my duty to enlighten her!
As I’m sure you have guessed, it didn’t go well. My help was not exactly appreciated. At the time, I wasn’t quite so cynical or stubborn as I am these days, so I didn’t argue the point any further.
Looking back now, I suppose the saying is true; things you’re taught in school do last a lifetime. All these years later, I think of this teacher nearly every time I see a falling star. But as it turns out, our little disagreement was not a complete waste of time. This and other like conflicts, made me learn to question what I was being taught and not just blindly accept everything—a practice I followed for the rest of my schooling and even to this day. I guess you could say when my teacher crashed and burned with her divergent theory, it had a lasting impact on me.
Shadow Of The Drill
When Darkness Breaks