Saturday, December 10, 2011
"There's a total eclipse of the moon going on right now," the man who loves me said as he climbed back into bed with his iPad. It was the first I'd heard of the lunar eclipse. The newspapers for the past couple of days sat in a stack on my dining room table. My various electronic devices had delivered only more earthbound news. It was warm under the covers, but after a minute we threw on our clothes and braved the morning chill. There it was in the western sky, a slivery fingernail, edging above an apartment building and some trees. As we watched, the moon disappeared altogether, but just as quickly began to reappear as we discussed whether to establish an observation perch on nearby cement wall or walk for coffee. Walk for coffee, we decided. Unable keep our eyes on the sky while picking our way over the dark uneven sidewalks, we lost sight of the moon--as if it had gone out for coffee, too.
Senior coffee costs 60 cents at McDonald's. But the moon had distracted us from worldly concerns like wallets. The man who loves me had $1.08 cents in his pocket. The girl behind the counter scooped it up, and gave us two coffees, and offered cream and sugar. "Cream," I said. She nodded and gave me at least a half-dozen of the little single-serving containers. The homeless person's breakfast, I thought. I've seen it done. A small cup of plain coffee, a good portion of it dumped out and replaced with half-and-half, then doctored with lots of sugar. I took only one of the little containers and gave her the rest back.
The moon was gone for good when we went back outside. Even though we walked uphill looking for a vantage point, what we saw was a moonless pink and gold sky. The sun was taking over the show. But we'd caught the best part. The entire loss of lunar light; it's breathtaking absence, and then the first glimpse of that cold white light's return. Walking home as the dawn burgeoned, I felt incredibly lucky.
Photo credit: http://www.niharsworld.com