Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Moon Gazing

I had another late start on the day, this time thanks to a rare all-nighter. The weather geek on TV was all excited about the lunar eclipse, talking about how it was around 400 years since there was a lunar eclipse in conjunction with the winter solstice. I don't really believe in literal magic outside the pages of a fantasy novel, but I figured that if any time happened to be magical, this might be it. Plus, it would be a long time until the next total lunar eclipse. So, I stayed up very, very late, and while I was staying up late waiting for the eclipse to start, I was getting a lot of writing done.

First, I hung around outside to see the very beginning. At that point, the moon was almost straight overhead, so the best viewing was lying on my back on my sidewalk. Fortunately, most of my neighbors know I'm a writer, so there's a certain amount of eccentricity that's accepted or even expected, and I'm probably letting them down on that front as I'm actually pretty boring, and so far, my eccentricity has amounted to being so quiet and never seen outside that a neighbor will occasionally check to make sure I'm alive in here. So I figured they wouldn't raise an eyebrow at me lying on the front sidewalk after midnight. Then I went back to writing. I came really close to the halfway point, and then something happened that was unexpected but that I really liked. It turned out that what I had planned as the Ordeal (in hero's journey terms) was really more an Approach to the Inmost Cave, and this new situation was the Ordeal. But since it was unexpected, that meant I had to think about it, so I made a pot of dark peppermint hot cocoa. While I was making the cocoa, I discovered that I could now see the moon from my patio, so I spent about 45 minutes sitting on my patio, drinking cocoa and watching the moon. I tried taking some pictures, but I don't have a tripod and it's hard to brace the camera against something at that angle, and that kind of shot requires a long exposure, so the pictures amounted to a weird streak.

When the eclipse neared totality, the moon started to dip below the roof line, so I went back out front to lie on the sidewalk again. The sidewalk was cold and not that comfortable, but then I came up with the bright idea of bringing out my exercise mat. Then, since I was lying on the exercise mat, I figured I might as well do some exercise, so I did a few leg lifts and some stretches. Exercising at two in the morning while lying on the sidewalk might have gone beyond "eccentric," but fortunately, no one seemed to be up and around, and since my house faces a courtyard and isn't visible from the street, no one driving by could see me. I was surprised by the amount of traffic on the main road behind my house at that time of the morning. Most of the cars on the road seemed to either squeal their tires when taking off at the traffic signal or play very loud music. Or both.

After a while, it started to get a little chilly. It was a very warm night for this time of year, but there was a cool breeze, so I got the fleece throw off the couch. Then it was a good thing no neighbors saw me because it looked like I'd gone to bed on the front sidewalk, and while the moon was fully eclipsed, it just looked dimmer and an odd color, so if you didn't know what was going on, you might not immediately know why someone might be spending the night outside. It was only during the partial stages when there was a really bright part and a really dark part that it was obvious. I kept watching until the bright part reappeared because I just reread Hogfather and after all that stuff about making sure the sun came up again, I had to make sure the moon came back. I finally fell into bed sometime after three, and then woke up at my usual time.

There will likely be napping later.

This may not have been the brightest thing to do when I have so much to get done today before I head out of town for Christmas, but it's a once-in-a-lifetime event. I feel all astronomical now.

1 comment:

Chicory said...

I'm glad you got to see the eclipse. :) So I guess the neighbors think you're one of those eccentric hermit type writers, since they rarely have a chance of seeing you act eccentric outside. :)