Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 1,842: SuperMoon Eclipse

Do you remember when we watched the SuperMoon Eclipse? It was 18 years ago, and you were so small. You were six and nine. The notion of an eclipse had been changed since my youth by social media, by cellphone cameras, by pollution. We were so aware of its coming, and how long it would be until it came again. The day dawned warm and gray and cloudy. Your father cursed the saints, believing that this time, like all the other times, his fascination with space would be temporarily obfuscated by overcast skies. We didn't prepare. We had no cameras, no spot scouted out in advance. We assumed we wouldn't be able to see it. We decided to let you stay up late, at least past 9, just in case. And then the thing that never happens happened. The clouds broke, the moon was perfectly cushioned between the shadows of tree branches in our yard. You were wearing your pajamas; footie pjs and pants and nightgown and bathrobe all together. We set chairs out in the yard, on the hill, by the hostas, in the midst of a plague of mosquitoes. Our neighbors, the youngest of whom was practically grown, were watching too. You wanted to join them and I said no. We watched as a family. It only took an hour. The moon was so bright, then it got slimmer and slimmer, until it was nothing but a line of white surrounded by orange, and then was nothing but a ball of red, and we saw the whole thing happen, perfectly, as if our house was made for moonwatching. You were tired and bug bitten. You asked how craters are formed on the moon. You asked about asteroids and if there was water in space and what would happen if the moon exploded or disappeared. Your father told you people used to think an eclipse was a monster rather than a shadow, that people believed that real and terrible things lived in the sky. You said that you loved our house because you could always see the moon. You asked all sorts of questions, and we answered you, except that last question, when you asked if we would be alive when this happened again, in 18 years, when you would be 24 and 27 and we would be newly 58. We told you we hoped so, but you never know, so we should enjoy this. We told you that if we were all alive at that time, you would remember this night. I said it was hard to imagine, but then I did it anyway. I imagined, and I wrote it down for you, what I hoped I would be able to say to you during the next SuperMoon Eclipse.

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