Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eclipses and other night time adventures

"I'm excited on the inside" my man says drily in response to my hopping around the house in excitement singing "eclipse, eclipse, lunar eclipse." He's feeling rotten and goes to bed. I manage to stay up and watch it. 

I put on the biggest warmest fleece I can find and slide out the front door with binos and camera. I sit in the dust wedged between two thorn trees, crook my neck up and marvel at the moon silently disappearing. Getting eaten up, being possessed. I should really be lounging on the day bed round the other side of the house, sipping a glass of wine pondering the mysteries of nature and life but frankly I can't be bothered.  I'm happy enough in the dust, gingerly moving the huge acacia thorns from my chosen spot.  Dashing in to the house every now and then when I get cold or bored. But each time I come inside I'm drawn back out there. Just one more look.

I am not a night owl. 9:30 is late for me.  The eclipse starts at 9:22. I manage to stay up though. Until she is swallowed whole and then she's completely gone, and its dark and the clouds come in and I feel bad that I'm not going to see her transformation back. I gingerly hang around a little nervous that that's it, she's gone forever. But the clouds have come in and its really really dark and now I'm tired. Just before I get into bed though, I peer out the window and see the acacias outside my window bathed in yellow moonlight again. Phew!

My grandfather was really into his stars. We'd often go and drive one of the game drive vehicles up the road to a clear spot and lie on the seats and look up at the stars. And he's show us how to find south from the Southern Cross and thats Scorpio and there are the Seven Sisters. And I have a memory, a bit blurry around the edges, but clear in the middle. Maybe six years old, sitting up behind our house on camp chairs at three in the morning with my mother and grandfather and his bashed up green and silver Coleman flask of hot milky tea. 

And seeing Hayley's Comet. Waking up in the night needing a wee. Lying in bed listening out for elephants and hippos. We're not really allowed to go outside for a wee in the night (we live in the bush and don't have ensuite loos - the toilet is faaar away). I try and keep in in but its no good. I quietly sneak outside, squat down for a wee and look up and... Holy shit look at that! And sneaking back into bed feeling smug and somewhat richer. 


JoeinVegas said...

We watched on the Google link, somehow it's better in person.

Mud said...


Amanda said...

we must be in the same time zone as i saw the eclipse at 9:22 here in it that your grandfather showed you the southern cross - lucky you to be able to see that in the southern hemisphere ;-)

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

I'm so envious that you got to see the eclipse. One will come again in the northern hemisphere & I'll be sitting outside waiting & watching.

I remember driving out into the country where there were no city lights to watch Haley's Comet, then at dawn watch the hot air balloons rise over the Colorado River, rush off to a huge celebratory parade, & in evening listen to the symphony & watch fireworks along the riverbank all for the Texas Sesquicentennial. Whew! I'm tired again telling this & thinking of that long, long day on March 2, 1986.

Red Dirt Lattes said...

Oh, I missed reading your blog. Found myself with a few minutes and came for some 'Times.' Leaving NYC for Northern Canada soon and ready to be on my back mapping the sky as well.