Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Total lunar eclipse tonight!

Scott and I kept bundling up and hurrying out to watch the eclipse in progress. I told him that the amazing thing is how close the moon looks when it's ruddy and opaque in the sky the way it is tonight. He replied, "Come to think of it, I've owned a car with more mileage than it would take to drive from here to the moon!"

I remember when I was about 11 and there was to be a total lunar eclipse visible over Copenhagen. My friend Stephanie and I were beside ourselves with excitement. Staying overnight at her place for the occasion, I sat with Stephanie and listened enraptured to her father as he explained how and why everything was going to happen. And then, an hour or two before the event, to our utter desolation, a bank of clouds moved in and coated the entire sky. We stood at the kitchen window and peered out sadly, imagining what it would be looking like from moment to moment. Then, astonishingly, a window opened in the clouds, just a small one, and the moon was in the very center of that window, with a huge dark chunk gouged out of it.

We watched, transfixed, for the rest of the event.

And here's a non-sequitur, while I'm at it. Before the miraculous parting of the clouds, Stephanie and I noticed a long, low, boxy, black vehicle parked on Gammel Kongevej: we could just see it if we leaned up on the counter and looked to the left past the school playground. Stephanie kept saying, "What is that?" Even her parents came out to the kitchen and peered curiously out at it. I kept saying exasperatedly, "Who cares? We're missing the eclipse!" But I have to say, in retrospect, I have never seen a vehicle remotely like it since.

The things one remembers during a major celestial event!

Happy eclipse, neighbor!


Amusing postscript:

I e-mailed Stephanie today to see if she remembered that night, too. Her response: "Oh, dear... I totally don't remember the eclipse. But... and don't laugh yourself silly... I do remember the car." This is particularly funny because she was always interested in machines and gadgets and how they worked, and I was the moony one who just wanted to read stories. Stephanie even ended up majoring in mechanical engineering! Of course she remembered that mystery car! I shoulda known she would. :-)