Eclipsed by the Moon

“There!” I pointed up into the night sky. “You can see the curved shadow beginning to fall across the moon.”

“Esta guay,” my niece remarked. She had just arrived from Spain earlier in the week. The lunar eclipse turned out to be an unscheduled but welcomed attraction at the beginning of her three-month American tour.

“What does guay mean?” I asked in Spanish.

“It’s just an expression. It means ‘How cool!’ or ‘How neat!’”

We stared up at the moon in the southeastern sky. “It’s guay all right; muy guay!

I dashed into the house and returned with my binoculars. “Here, try these,” I said, offering them to my niece.

“Wow, you can really see it well through these gemelos!” she said.

“See those two bright lights on either side of the moon?” I pointed. “That’s Saturn and the star Regulus in the constellation Leo.”

We handed the binoculars back and forth over the next two hours, periodically stamping our feet and blowing out our warm breath through cupped hands to ward off the winter cold. A neighbor across the street came out and settled into a lawn chair to watch the spectacle. Finally, the entire lunar landscape turned a pale burnt orange, engulfed in the shadow of the earth.

My niece pointed the lens of her digital camera skyward and snapped several photos to record the event.

The next day a photo montage appeared in the local newspaper, depicting shots of the moon in various stages of the eclipse from locations around the globe. The same glowing moon appeared above the Wrigley Building in Chicago; in Marlborough, Connecticut; in the night sky above Tacoma, Washington. A phase of the lunar eclipse hung below a bell of the Guadalupe Temple in Guadalajara, Mexico. There was the moon again, seen partially covered from Montevideo, Uruguay; near Frankfurt, Germany; from Vodno mountain, south of Macedonia’s capital Skopje. The same moon hovered above Guatemala City, in the sky above the emblematic Obelisk in Buenos Aires, near the top of the Bunker Hill Monument in Boston’s Charlestown section, behind the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, California; and above the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem.

Looking at the photographs, I recalled that this is the same moon under which countless lovers embrace, the moon celebrated by poets through recorded history, the moon of Lorca and Cummings—our moon, under which we all live and breath and have our being.

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