Last night was a total lunar eclipse. The last total lunar eclipse was in August of 2007, and the next one will be on December 21, 2010. I was happy to see the sky cloudless, not so happy to see the thermometer hovering around zero. Not only do I not like the cold, my digital Canon hates it as well.
I started going out and looking around 8:45, by then the moon was coming up behind the pine trees with just a little shadow on the lower left edge. by 9:30 things were in total swing and as I sat out on the porch, freezing off appendages and fighting off hypothermia, I witnessed something that has been happening since the beginning of time, and it made me feel connected somehow to the cycles of the earth and the universe, while at the same time, it left me feeling very very small.
As I was running in and out, charging my battery and warming up before heading out again to brave the cold, my oldest son came downstairs, afraid. My other son had told him that there was a lunar eclipse and that the moon was going to go dark. Standing on the porch with both of my boys explaining the workings of a lunar eclipse to them, I realized how powerful knowledge is, and how terrifying things like an eclipse must have been to acient man who didn't have any real idea as to why it was happening and what the long term effects would be. Tryphon was very concerned about what the sun and moon would look like in the morning, how this huge event would effect them in the long run. I was glad I was able to explain it to them, and comfort him so he wasn't worrying all night about it like so many people in the past must have done. To wake up and see that everything was the same, must have been such a huge relief after a night of terror and uncertainty.
After putting them back to bed, I sat on the porch with my camera on a tripod, just snapping pictures and watching the moons descent into darkness. At the moment that the last sliver of silver disappeared, they coyotes that live in the valley below my house started yipping and screaming as if singing their farewell to the moon light. It was truly a beautiful moment, to be sitting there, being one with nature and witnessing it in all of its beautiful distinction.
I hope to be there for the next eclipse, and that my photography skills have improved enough for me to get some really nice shots, weather permitting of course. December 21, 2010..my 14th wedding anniversary...and I'm sure its going to be cold. Maybe the next time I should wear more than a bathrobe and flannel pants :-P