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Lunar eclipse

They predicted rain tonight. Thick sheets of it.

But I stepped out just before dinner and saw the moon shining through the cedars like a new dime. Some clouds, but only enough to make it all very picturesque. I don't usually like picturesque as it usually precedes disaster, but silver-edged clouds moving across a full moon is quite beautiful and sometimes beautiful is all you need.

We shall take hot chocolate and sleeping bags with us to watch the lunar eclipse.

This is our first time celebrating winter holidays in our new house. We are building new traditions. I am stupidly excited that we will see the eclipse---maybe there is such a thing as luck and that Fortune on Horseback gave us a passing nod on her way elsewhere.

On Saturday we'll decorate the living Christmas tree we rented (yep, you can rent 'em) from the Adopt-A-Stream foundation. There are lights and gold beads and other things that glitter. The day after we will have a feast and drink wine and light some candles to remind the fab GF and I that we have made it through the darkest part of winter and soon the days we share with one another will get brighter.

But even without these new traditions I can feel the brightest star in the sky tonight, like every star on every tree and every steeple and every school paper, promising there will be more light. Days that are dark and cold will bring days that are bright and warm. As cold and dark as a winter night can be, the light will return. It must return. It's the way of things.

Soon the moon will go dark and then return to shining silver. My darling girl has dark hair with silver as if shot through with stars. She is lovely. Like the warmth of wine. Like silver-edged clouds. Like the promise of light fulfilled.

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Submitted by jawbone on

I stayed up for the eclipse although I had to fight sleepiness. Did fall asleep, but woke in time to see about a quarter of the moon going dark.

The skies were cloud free and the atmosphere crystalline clear last night, which cold weather sometimes brings to northern NJ. The moon was so bright, even partially shadowed, that I had to cover it with my hand to look for stars near it. Dazzlingly bright, causing sharp dark shadows from the bare limbed trees and dried remnants of summer's growth. Going outside once was enough, however.

The moon did finally get the orangey brown mentioned, but not blood red from what I saw, and still had a tiny portion of silver to creamy white. I tried to stay awake to see how the shadow withdrew from the moon, but didn't quite make it. When I did wake up to look out, it seemed the transit of the shadow was different from what I had anticipated. I fell asleep trying to visualize the path the Earth was taking in relation to the moon....

The moon was breathtaking when it was part shadowy dark and blindingly bright.

I remember trying to read by the light of the fuller moons when I was a child. It seemed so romantic and I could do it without my parents seeing my light was on. I had developed a technique of reading under the covers using a flashlight, but that allowed enough light seepage to make my parents aware I was doing that. Night always intrigued me as a special time to do things.

Now, as I get ready for Medicare (hooray! It's still there...for awhile), I'm usually too tired to stay up very late unless I absolutely must. Plus, if I don't get to sleep by a certain time, I have trouble sleeping at all, which is a real bitch.

But watching the eclicpse was well worth it. "Cosmic," as a friend of mine might say.

Much happiness and continued blessings for you and Fab GF. For everyone here. And everywhere.

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Submitted by Eureka Springs on

I couldn't miss it. Was grand out here so many miles from city lights... warm night too. Just about a third of the way through initial shadow coverage a giant meteor came from almost straight above... bright white turning very bright green under an eclipse. It was amazing! The animals were certainly aware of the changes... fox were particularly vocal about it here.

Some great photo links here. http://spaceweather.com/

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Submitted by Historiann on

The whole family got up and we saw the shadow swallow the moon. The weather was supposed to be overcast, but I took a chance. It was perfectly clear, and the moon rose right above our front doorstep.

Like Jawbone, I never saw it go "blood red," just awash in a dull orangey-red glow.

Submitted by ohio on

the fab GF and I were well-wrapped in our sleeping bags. I felt a little like a pierogi. Anyway, we had our hot chocolate and our feral cats were running around in moonlight so bright you could read by it. And then the shadow started creeping its way across the face of the moon.

ohio: Wow.
Fab GF: It kinda looks like PacMan.

(Fab GF editorial comment just now: "Don't make me sound simple minded.")

The clouds started drifting in heavily, enough to diffuse the moonlight so there were no shadows. Just dark and darker. The two feral cats who had been playing disappeared. It's not unusual for a moonlit night to suddenly get dark followed by the aforementioned sheets of rain, so when everything gets still and quiet, I think it's the hunkering. You have to hunker to handle the rain.

Anyway, our conversation continued to be very erudite.

ohio: Just think how many people in the world are looking up right now.
Fab GF: Are you done with your hot chocolate?

The shadow got all the way across till there was a tiny scribble of moon left and then the clouds smudged it out.

And then it rained a little. We both just laughed. By then we were lying on the patio, looking a bit like a pair of damp pierogis. The rain stopped, though the wind didn't, and we laid there waiting for the moon to come back.

It sorta did and sorta didn't, we could see it and then it was gone again. I had that knowledge of how it could have been so terrifying to watch the moon disappear and not come back because clouds obscure it from view. Followed quickly by how easy it would to exploit that terror for gain. (I've been thinking a bit about the Guelfs and Ghibilines and have been reassessing terror and power these days, so I shouldn't have been surprised at this insight. And yet I was. And then I snapped out of it.)

Mostly, though, it was wind and night and clouds. The world is not with us enough. The fab GF said that to me as we waited for the moon to come back. It is from a poem by Denise Levertov:

O Taste and See

The world is
not with us enough
O taste and see

the subway Bible poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything all that lives
to the imagination’s tongue,

grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform

into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being

hungry, and plucking
the fruit.

I met Denise Levertov years ago when we were both invited to do readings. She was the headliner and I was the warm-up act. Even artists have a pecking order. But she was warm and kind in that effortless way people have who have a lot of practice being warm and kind. And this is a good poem. The fab Gf has it partially memorized---mostly the bit about the world. Perhaps as a way to remind herself that the world is worth fighting for. Love is worth fighting for. I can't say for sure because I know she knows this poem and the poem carries its own meaning. A poem is its own justification.

Like lying out late in the cold to watch an eclipse.