Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Upon the Mock Brine of a Luna Sea

I insisted at about 9:15 this evening that Lilly go out and see the lunar eclipse. That's the kind of dad that I am. She objected that the pit of winter this year has been unusually long and narrow, with clay walls that are making it difficult to scale. Actually, she said, "But it's cold, it's cold!"

And it was. Around about 10° F., but at least it didn't register colder, since there was no wind. From our backyard deck, the full Hunger Moon had been dipped copper-orange and parked slightly above a leafless honey locust, the one overhanging our driveway. It was all very painterly. It could have been a lost canvas of Casper David Freidrich. After a few seconds, we were back inside.

I probably saw one earlier, but the first lunar eclipse that I remember was in May 1975 -- late in the evening of May 24, but according to the records of such things, the eclipse was on the 25th, Greenwich time. It was a Saturday night for me, and what did us 13- (almost 14-) year-olds do for fun in San Antonio on Saturday nights in the mid-70s? Watched repeats of Star Trek that aired (I think) at 10:30, in case we hadn't gotten enough during the weekday airings after school. Before Saturday Night Live, Saturday nights were an underutilized time on TV.

After the episode was over, or maybe during the commercials, I went outside to see the copper Moon. Unlike Illinois in February, Texas in May is warm and lush, encouraging a longer gaze at Luna.

This doesn't have anything to do with the Moon, but the only other thing I remember about wasting mid-70s Saturday nights watching Star Trek was the August 3, 1974, "We Interrupt This Program" report on the bloody conclusion of the Huntsville, Texas, prison siege. Not as famed as Attica (not nearly as many people died, and Al Pacino never used the name in a movie), but it was big news in Texas at the time. We did not live in a 24-hour news world then. Programs were interrupted when the story was violent enough.

This does have something to do with the Moon: I'm glad that the writer's strike is over, but only because it's good that people can carry on with their livelihoods. Otherwise, who cares? It isn't as if there isn't enough entertainment that I haven't seen yet. Even if 90 percent of that total is worthless -- a reasonable rule of thumb when it comes to movies and television -- that still leaves plenty left to see. Taken at a pace that people who have work and other obligations should watch it, enough to last for years.

Take the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon, the final episode of which we saw on DVD last week. It's 10 years old now, but every bit as extraordinary as when new. I especially liked the sometime focus on people other than the astronauts, and the focus on Apollo astronauts other than the usual suspects (the crews of 11, 13 and maybe 8). And who would have thought Dave Foley would do such a good turn as Alan Bean?

Who's alive and well, I'm happy to say, and putting moondust in his artwork.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home