Beyond the Eclipse

| August 17, 2010

Our family telescope sits in a silver tripod close to the early red geraniums, their green leaves fuzzy against my kneecaps. I am barely tall enough to look through the lens, hoping to examine the fine details of the Moon as she passes between the Earth and the Sun which will look like a dark ring. My father gives me a little boost, and in just a few minutes the sky is shrouded in darkness as though someone has dropped a black veil over her face. The Earth, I know, is still moving, tilted on her axis and spinning like a top around the Sun. We are smaller than grains of sand, minuscule in the cosmos, and I’m thinking of how I can stand straight when the planet beneath me is upside down.

I am hesitant, speculating if anything else is moving up there — my lens resting as lightly as a Blue Morpho on the shaded glass, my eyes then blinking like butterfly wings to focus. The darkness passes in but a few short seconds, and it is bright again that Spring day. In my hand is a small, milky-white moonstone carved in the shape of a rabbit, a pendant from The Rock Shop – purchased on our long drive back home from last summer’s Maine vacation. Its pearly translucence reminds me of the glow of the Moon when the Sun reflects his light on her – when the other part of Earth is right side up – and I am careful to keep it safe in my rose-painted, Chinese jewelry box for all the years ahead.

The Moon, our natural satellite, is pulling the oceans and lakes in streams of white froth and foam — myriads of creatures in the tide. If magicians can pull rabbits out of hats, can the moon draw life from the magic of the Sun and the mysterious water buried beneath her surface? I am too young to know, but not to wonder.

Be sure to see our news exhibit: The Great Moon Hoax, in the Everett Café, Wednesday, 8/25