September 26, 1996

A Lunar Eclipse

Why it took me a week and a half to actually start putting stuff on this website...

Tonight, rushed through dinner, off to school for Open House night at the elementary school. Got back home, began cracking the Do-Your-Homework whip, then turn on computer, go on-line, check e-mail, visit the on-line journals I like to read, then logoff so phone calls can be made. Get into editor, prepare to type an entry -- Dad, do we have any maps that show mountains? Find World Atlas. Where are the Sierra Nevada mountains? Begin talking about Mexico, then realize that's the Sierra Madras mountains. Uh, somewhere in California...go on-line, Lycos search on Sierra Nevada.... Sean wants some parental typing of a story he is writing for school. Bring up newly installed WordPro but he gets Nancy to type it upstairs on her laptop.

Go outside and check on beginning of lunar eclipse.

Come back inside. Sean has diskette with his story on it, now wants to print it. Bring it into WordPro, turn it over to him to "customize" it (as he puts it), but he is getting frustrated, not used to dealing with a fancy word processor, give him some help, get it printed.

Go outside and look at earth's shadow covering half the moon.

Make Sean turn off Nintendo and go to bed, it's after ten p.m. Put on warm jacket (it's chilly outside) and go out onto back deck to watch eclipse. Jennifer joins me and says that it is dizzying to realize that the moon is being covered by the Earth's shadow, that that shadow is being cast by the ball of rock we are living on, it almost makes her want to grab hold of something to keep from being thrown off into space. I am feeling very contemplative, watching that sepia toned shadow engulf the moon....

The last full lunar eclipse we watched was in August of 1989, when Sean was only four and Jennifer was seven. It was a clear summer night and we were watching the eclipse from the front lawn of our house back in Binghamton. I was feeling very sad; it was only a few days after my mother's death and I was still struggling to come to terms with that loss.

Tonight I sat on our rear deck, feet propped up on the railing, staring up at the moon in a star-filled sky, remembering watching a full moon on a warm summer night in our backyard when I was very young. I was an avid fan of the Alley Oop comic strip in the daily paper and one of his recent adventures had involved space travel. My father pointed at the sky and pretended to see Alley Oop flying to the moon in a space ship. I knew that he was only joking and yet I stared skyward wanting it to be true, longing to see that rocket flying to the moon. A few years ago, just a couple of months after my father's death, I was running in cold March twilight with a full moon rising and I remembered my father and the moon on that long ago summer night and I began to compose a poem as I ran. Watching the eclipse I realize that I want to post that poem here.

Meanwhile, Tiger, the feline member of our household, is pawing at the sliding glass door, complaining at being stuck inside, missing out on the fun we must be having outside.

Go back inside, make Sean turn off the Nintendo again and go to bed. Jennifer has taken over the computer, using CD-ROM encyclopedia to look up the Urals. I begin to search through boxes of diskettes. I have that poem on diskette, but where is it? We have been in this house seven months now but it seems as if the answer to every missing object is: must be in a box in the basement. Jennifer is finally finished and heads off to sleep.

It is now after eleven o'clock and I can begin to play with background colors...and then I begin to type this entry, just to have some text on the screen to help me judge the background....but I get caught up in typing this and at last it is twenty past midnight and here I am. Somehow I had envisioned posting somewhat more coherent and polished entries, discussing art, literature, and the burning issues of the day...but this is my life, so I guess I'll just be me.

And now the moon is white and the little bit of shadow that still covers it appears very dark. If I ever find that poem I will post it, but for now I think I will settle for getting this loaded up to the server.

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