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20 February 2008 / April

Eclipse

Living in the middle of the woods and all, I naively assume I will have to walk all the way down the hill to the horse pasture to even get a chance at viewing tonight’s lunar spectacle. But clearly, Luna has no intention of hiding herself. Not on this night.

I step out into the cold, walk down the porch steps, turn to face southeast and look up. I don’t even need to turn off the outside lights or peer between the skeletal silhouettes of trees. For there she is, high among the blindingly bright stars in a mercifully clear sky: the moon, rust red with a sliver of silver at the edge.

For a while I do nothing but stare.

I go and turn off the lights after all, and another unearthly glow becomes apparent, this one emanating from the windows of my room where there is a computer I have forgotten to put to sleep. It is an eerie pairing, the blue window and the red moon. The snow crunches under my shoes as I shift my weight. A neighbor’s light turns briefly on, then off, embarrassed at interrupting. I hold my breath, wondering what true silence sounds like. The wind blows through the trees. I hear them creak.

Suddenly there is my mother, walking down the driveway. She’s coming home from work. No doubt it is too dark for her to have noticed me.

When she gets closer, I say calmly, “Hello.”

“Oh! What are you doing out here?”

“Watching the eclipse.”

“Oh. I was wondering why the moon was so small tonight.”

“Yeah. And red, you know.”

“Yeah. I was looking at it all the way home.”

We stand quietly a little while. She starts fidgeting uncomfortably; after all, she has just been walking for an hour and a half. Perhaps a few extra minutes in the cold is not what she was looking forward to.

Finally I tell her, “You can go inside. Since you were looking at it on the way home, and all.”

“Alright.” She walks up the steps, opens the front door. I hear our dog greeting her happily.

I stand outside a few minutes longer, watching the moon. Slowly, the silver sliver gets thinner.

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