THE SONIC BOOMER
It’s old news by now, but last Sunday evening, there was an eclipse. It took about half an hour for the shadow of the earth to cover the moon, which, in Debbie time, is 25 minutes too long. So I went inside and watched 30 Rock on Netflix as I waited for the earth to move, then went back out to see this “blood moon.” Unfortunately, the moon was not dripping blood in a Transylvanian type way as I had hoped. It merely had an unusual reddish glow, which I’m told it will not have again for 17 years.
If I had been born a couple thousand years ago, however, before there were satellites buzzing around in space that could beam valuable information back to us — (“It’s not real blood, Houston.” “Aw, nuts. Well, over and out.”) — I would’ve been terrified. All of us sheepherders would have been.
We would have gathered in our huts, clutching our most valuable sheep to our breasts, and waited for the end of the world. As the moon got darker, we would have fallen to our knees and started to repent — until some know-it-all pointed out that the moon was getting bright again. Then we would’ve brushed off our knees, mumbled something about not giving up chewing coca leaves after all, and went on about our business.
But last Sunday, hugging my husband as if it was New Year’s Eve, I was one of the enlightened ones. I suffered none of the fear and all of the beauty of the lunar eclipse. That’s one of the advantages of living in an age where the polar ice caps are melting and the ocean is slowly being covered with floating plastic garbage.
Then Mark blew it all by asking, “Do you think we’ll be alive when this happens again?”
I shoved him away and huffed, “I will.” Does he not realize that I plan to live forever? My gosh, I still haven’t climbed Mount Everest or seen Wyoming. There’s so much to do! (Not that I would ever waste my time on Everest and Wyoming. I mean, there are unexplored theme parks out there! Plus, I hear the shopping is good in the Czech Republic.)
But it sounds as if the end result of seeing this marvel of the “blood moon” has the same effect on us today as it did on the tribes of long ago. We both suddenly feel a need to accomplish something. The primitives spent the next few decades rolling boulders into place for Stonehenge or carving massive rocks into heads at Easter Island, whereas I feel a burning need to ride Kingda Ka, the world’s tallest roller coaster (456 feet!). There will be pain and suffering for both of us — they will have to push heavy rocks for miles, and I will have to drive on the New Jersey Turnpike. But the sense of accomplishment when we’re done!
To me, that’s the real miracle of an eclipse.