Years ago we had a fifth grade exchange student from Manchester, England staying with us. I was standing by our back door in Lambert’s Cove on one of our spectacular starry nights. She came out the door and looked up into the sky. Her mouth dropped open.

“Aren’t they beautiful?” I said.

“I’ve never seen them before,” she replied.

I am so grateful to live in a place where the night sky is not polluted by city lights. A few days ago I was gazing at the stars and saw a strange light. It appeared out of the darkness in a fixed position. Its shape was roundish and its size was about three times that of Venus. There was a subtle pulsation to its edges and it had a pure silver hue. It was of a soothing brightness — not blinding.

After a split second it fizzled out in a short dropping tail streak and disappeared. I recognized this as a shooting star coming straight at me in its brief entrance into our atmosphere before dropping down and burning out.

I had seen this rare phenomenon once before and feel extremely fortunate to have witnessed it again in my lifetime. The first time I was standing outside the back door of the Union Chapel on a warm evening during the Built on Stilts festival. For some reason I looked up into the sky at the stars above showing in the spaces between the oak branches. Suddenly there appeared a surreal disc of pulsating white fire in a fixed position with orange sparks boiling out from its perimeter.

My mouth dropped open as the light briefly grew in size then receded and fizzled out in a short sideways streak. There were people all around me.

“Did anyone see that!?” I asked.


David Stanwood lives in West Tisbury.