Here in southern New Zealand it was scheduled to begin at 9 something pm. or other hurm hurm errr wasn't paying attention. Well, that was our understanding; as it turns out, astronomers were talking about that being when the umbra getting sort of near the moon a wee bit, rather than actual celestial conjugation. Three hours is a long arse time to be standing out in slightly too cold weather waiting for something very gradual to happen.
The occasional van full of dope smoke weaved past us on the way to the beach to view the thing there. They probably fell asleep before it happened and all have cricks in their necks this morning, which should be a lesson to them.
It's amazing how thoroughly you can convince yourself of a phenomenon that is not happening just yet. This applies to so many things in general life that waiting for this shit to appear turned into a bit of comprehensive existential revelation. The more we stared at the moon, the more we were certain it was becoming eclipsed. It wasn't, but we needed to look at 20 frames of the same darn thing in sequence to chastise our presumption.
So we waited.
- 9.30 pm; The Lovely R walks back to the house for his woolly hat.
- 9.45: We discuss how ancient people must have viewed lunar aberrations, deciding it was probably different for everyone; some saw Fenrir gobbling the moon, others declared it's a shadow, dipshits, and went back to bed. I decided that at least some of my neolithic predecessors must have sucked the dry, seedy lemon of skepticism, and that this precious epigenetic legacy was colouring my perception even now.
I walk home for a bigger shawl and come back with a bean bag.
(No we don't) .
- More time after that: The moon goes a bit orange, in exactly the same as it does at any other time when you screw up your eyes and look at it through your lashes. Exposure challenges are somewhat resolved, but then the wind comes up and starts juddering the tripod.
- And a bit later still: Behold, mud, sorry- blood moon. Alright, so it's about quarter of an hour off a full, technical blood moon but you get the idea. It was cold, we were sleepy and grumpy and our gear limitations made further observation a little bit moot.
It was that greatest of mysteries- the beauty of silence and reduction. Of absence.
No one can fast-forward a lunar eclipse and I am glad that the moon made us wait.
We needed reminding.