Richmond's Own (but unowned) Website

The shrill sound of the alarm clock broke the silent night. Bee-bee-beeep. Bee-bee-beeep. Bee-bee-beeep, filled the room instead of the usual soft sounds of a music CD. I looked at the clock. 3:00.  I lept from my bed to hit the snooze button, before the disturbance would wake my parents. After that, I turned off the alarm completely. I crept out of my room to my parents' room, pushed aside the curtain, and stared into the night sky.

About four hours earlier, Priscilla had sent me a message on AIM about a full lunar eclipse. And I was determined to watch it. The scientists had forecasted it for 3:17. It was about 3:02. And I could not see anything.

I went to the window by the sewing machine, on the other side of the house. Now, I could see the moon, like the beacon of a lighthouse shining through the dense cloud cover. Around now, I heard footsteps. My mom had awoken as well, and I explained to her about the eclipse. Soon, some of the clouds illuminated by the moon began to get dark. The moon itself began to fade away. Soon, it seemed to get brighter again, but then dim once more. It was like watching the waves on the beach as the tide is going out. Soon, the light faded from sight like a train moving away toward a new destination, and the night sky was left in darkness.

The darkness was strange. To go from a full moon to blackness in a matter of minutes was unsettling. Light from the streetlamp permeated through the window. I could only imagine what it would be like to witness the phenomena without modern day lights. The panic of animals. The pitch blackness of the world. And as I sat at the window, a little child looked to the sky, wishing for the moon to come out once again. And it did not. I grabbed a blanket and a pillow and lay down next the window, looking out the sky, as if looking for hope in a sea of despair. I could see myself from the outside, like a camera from a Pixar film; an animated child wide-eyed, looking through the glass of a window - glass that may stop air, but cannot stop sight or imagination.

I fell asleep around four. When I awoke, sunlight bathed the room through the grey of the morning fog. It was bright, as if the events of the early morning hours had never occured. Merely a child's dream or imagination. I later found that the moon did not come out until six. I hadn't bothered looking at the ending time of the eclipse the night before. (Which goes to show that even with all the technology we have, initiative is still needed.) Though I only witnessed the first half of the eclipse, it was an experience like no other. Watching something so comforting disappear. And I had no power to stop it. And it wouldn't come back. I'd wait a minute. And another minute. And another, and as hard as I wished for the moon to return, it wouldn't. Waking up in the morning light - almost like another life - it was disheartening to realize I had missed the reappearance of the moon, missed the comeback of an old friend.

There are many moons in my life. In all our lives. And inevitably, some of them begin to disappear, begin to fade away like that train on its way to a different destination.  There's nothing that can stop that, that's how the world, how the universe, works. But we can try to be there when the moon comes back. The next lunar eclipse is December 21, 2010. I hope to witness it - for all the moons in my life.

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