Awake at 6:07 a.m. this morning, my first thought was whether the sky had cleared. A lunar eclipse was supposed to happen as the moon slid down to the western horizon. My partner, Mick, got up before me, saw the fresh snow, thought the sky was cloudy. Then he called to me that he could see the moon, that the clouds had parted. The total eclipse of the super blue moon was in progress: the blood moon would be visible soon. I got up, threw on clothes, took our dog outside.
I cannot resist a full moon or an eclipse. A couple of inches of fresh fluffy snow just added to the magic of the early hour. A plow had already made one sweep right down the middle of our street, and that was where I walked with Truffles, where I stood still and looked at the moon as it began to blush in the earth’s shadow. Only two of our neighbors were outside and they seemed to be focused on shoveling their driveways, although I did see them glance upward a few times. I spoke to one of them, an older man who lives alone to the south of us, who was sad that the moon was so low in the sky.
Truffles and I circled the block, came back to our driveway, where Mick had it all cleared out already. The snow was so light, it made shoveling easy. I took Truffles in the house, then Mick and I walked to the other end of the block, where we could look right down Roselawn Avenue at the eclipse. The moon always seems to move downward so quickly once it gets just above the western tree line; we could see the now-total eclipse, but it was very close to the point where we would not be able to see it anymore. We found another neighbor outside, leaning on his shovel and looking at the moon, too. He said his friend from north of the cities called him this morning, told him the skies had cleared, go outside. He said his little boy, an early riser, was excited. I could see the kid across the street with his mom. Mick and I stayed there at the end of the block, watching the moon and wondering why so few neighbors were outside for this rare celestial event. We hoped they were at least looking out their windows.
When the moon had slipped downward enough that we could barely see it, we turned back toward our house. We saw another neighbor with his dog heading down the sidewalk toward us. We asked if he saw the eclipse and were surprised that he said he was busy shoveling his driveway and didn’t look at it. How could he not look up, Mick and I wondered later as we made coffee. How could anyone be outside and not take a peek at a super blue blood moon, a convergence of lunar events that last happened in 1982?
I know there are many who figure if they miss an event, they can just look at photos of it online. They can see it on television, find it in a newspaper. (Time Magazine has posted some pretty stunning photos HERE.) But there is nothing like the awe of being outside to see an eclipse over fresh snow, to watch the edge of night collide with the edge of day. The substitution of a screen version for actual natural phenomena strikes me as incredibly sad. Sad because it lacks all the accompanying sensory experiences: cold air, dogs barking in the distance, wind on the face, snow beneath boots, steadily strengthening light. This morning’s eclipse left me with chilly fingers that I later wrapped around a mug of fresh hot coffee while Mick and I talked about our plans for today. It also left me with a magical start to the day that hasn’t worn off yet, that has segued into winter sunshine on sparkly snow.
How lucky we were to wake up early, to step outside and admire our planet’s original satellite as it passed through our own shadow, showed us how everything keeps moving through darkness into light.
Images courtesy of Pixabay.com