October 8, 2014

passing through shadow

The moon was still nearly full when I pulled myself from bed at the usual too-early time.  I'd almost forgotten about the eclipse - and how quickly it would go - and by the time my shower had woken me up, the earth's shadow had eroded the moon to a slim, shining sliver.




I rushed through coffee prep, grabbed my inadequate camera and binoculars, turned on the porch light, and stumbled over fallen walnuts out to the middle of the backyard, where no branches would obscure my view.




The porchlight started flashing.  I turned, saw my Farmer silhouetted in the doorway, and waved.  When he didn't come out, I went up to investigate.  Turns out he'd seen the glow from my camera's display, and thought there were bioluminescent mushrooms growing on the stump I was using as my tripod.

Meanwhile, the moon had turned reddish, passing through the penumbra of the earth's shadow, reflecting "all the sunrises and sunsets in the world, all at once."




The girls traipsed out in their pajamas, barefoot in the cool dew.  Taking turns with the binoculars, we watched as the moon sank in the sky, grew dimmer and dimmer.



We never did see the "turquoise band" resulting from reflected ozone.  Photos online were much more spectacular than the ones I took, than even the reality that we saw, despite a forecast-defying unclouded sky.

So a shadow passed over the moon, temporarily obscuring its brilliance and shading it rusty-red.  Cars hurried to work just yards to our left, buggies, pickups with ladders and tools on their way to build things, fix things.  No one slowed to watch the spectacle.  Perhaps no one noticed there was one.

I wouldn't have missed it, though.

When we could barely distinguish the morning-faded moon from the morning itself, we headed back inside - me to cook the eggs, them to read abed, and dress.

Quietly, masked by daylight, the moon emerged from shadow and once again - to the other side of the world - reflected sunlight fully.







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