Alarms went off at 5am: my fault. I insisted the whole family get up to see the lunar eclipse. They were bribed with chocolate spread on toast, which has only happened for breakfast once before in normal life. It was a nice clear morning, I said, as I hauled the covers off them. They got dressed. Slightly cloudy, I muttered, boiling the kettle. A bit hazy, I murmured, as they rummaged for garments.
The frost was spiky on the grass and thick on the cars and the road glittered black in the light of the lampposts. There was no moon. Just a white faded memory of one.
Anticlimactic, they thought it. I did too, really, despite the knowledge. That was the whole point, after all. We’d got up for the most ecliptic bit of the eclipse, when it is all most obscured. We didn’t see the beginning, but it got darker. Now it’s darkest, least significant. That was the point.
Hot cups of tea. Funny how long 10 minutes is early in the morning when you are cold and sleepy. Hat. Big coat. More cloud. Porridge. Half an hour. That’s when it was supposed to begin un-eclipsing. It will, you know. Honest.
Ah…a sliver. Just a bright shiny cold white sliver of moon. Tiny, distant, but so bright. They were politely unresponsive. Oh yes, we see it. That’s good. Yes, we have seen the eclipse now. Should we go in? Er…there’s a bit more. It’s a process.
Some of us stopped watching, did sensible things or read books, popped out a couple of times to see. One of us kept watching, went further to see more.
The moon got bigger and brighter (it’s a brown and white blob, Mum, well done) and more and more obscured by haze.
By the time it was full-sized we were sleepy and silly, cross and excited. Look, it’s big and bright now, complete.
Late for school. How is that possible?
It was wonderful.
Now, I know this has some kind of deep spiritual parallel. Sense of anticipation. Effort. Determination. Anti-climax. Persistence. Appreciation. Significance. Insignificance. Dark before dawn. Miracles of nature. Seeing the marvellous in the mundane. Faith in what we know has happened and will come to pass.
Unfortunately, I’m too tired to extract it.