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Suburban Island

Lunar Eclipse
Monday, Nov. 10, 2003, 9:16 a.m.

QUESTION: What's that in the sky?

WHAT I LEARNED: Beauty can turn up in the strangest places.

Let me call you back in a minute. Mother’s a little busy right now dear. You see, I’m doing the grocery shopping with dear father and catching a lunar eclipse while stowing groceries in the trunk of the car. Yes dear, it is possible to do both at the same time and now I must go – the ice cream is melting. This is what I might have said if one of my kids had graced me with a call this past Saturday night as they went along their merry way.

Yes, I know – isn’t it an amazing level of efficiency to fit the chores and a major celestial event into one trip to the grocery store. Or perhaps it is less of matter of blazing efficiency, and more a matter of basic cutting-it-close-to the-wire serendipity.

Perhaps, I was not efficient but just ignorant of the upcoming eclipse that would grace our evening and make the moon blush red. Maybe, I would go out for a steak and cheese sandwich with the purpose of taking a break from my great task – the total reorganization and cleaning out of the office and family room at the same time, which is in and of itself an act of utter bravery or madness, depending upon your viewpoint. Maybe, after the steak and cheese my husband and I would consider the wisdom of hitting the grocery store to buy the necessary amount of prepared soups, crackers, cans of soda, cold cuts and breaks, and dessert alternatives – wicked and non-fat, to stem the rising cry – there’s nothing to eat here – a household phrase loosely translated to mean – there’s nothing here to eat that I particularly like.

Perhaps while driving over to said grocery with a list written on the back of a soda-stained placemat with silver ink that you can only read when you hold it in the light at a certain angle, I noticed a large overbearing full moon – absolutely glowing white and quite full of itself. And perhaps after deciphering the list, making the required purchases - for which, the checker kindly noted, I had failed to produce even one money saving coupon, and dragging a cart full of groceries back to the car, I had glanced up at the sapphire sky and noted a great shadow over the kilowatt bright moon. Maybe, while standing in the dark and chilly parking lot, I had been given the opportunity to observe what I would have missed if not for the impromptu shopping trip – a moon in the very midst of eclipse.

I heard later it was the only show in town. My son had seen it at a neighbor’s house after a rousing day of paint ball battles, through a telescope with a little TV attached to it. I saw it, pinned like some glorious white flower - right above my head in a suburban parking lot as I moved between the daily labors of ordinary life.


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