I have always loved looking at the moon and have tried photographing it. I once made a video of it using music written by and performed by a former student who has gone on to be an indie music publisher.
I knew there would be a once-in-a-lifetime eclipse of the super moon tonight. I was prepared and had scoped out the perfect viewing spot in our driveway last night. Armed with a chair and my camera I settled to see if the high clouds would drift away enough to see it. The sky, which had had wispy clouds earlier, had cleared to blue in the west, but the eastern sky still was covered with high fog.
As the light dimmed two cars wound up the dirt drive leading to our house. The first, seeing me camped out, was driven by a woman who said she was sorry and was just looking for a place to watch the eclipse. I invited her to stay. She went to talk to the car behind her, also driven by a woman, and they thanked me and decided to join my watch. Piling out of the cars after them were five children ranging in age from a toddler to a fifth grader. It rapidly became apparent that their English was limited.
The most fluent woman (the other spoke no English) said they were from China and had lived here a year. But we didn’t need much language in common. We all understood why we were here. After establishing that there was little fear of snakes or mountain lions, the group decided to venture a short way up the fire trail to see if there was a better view.
Soon they returned and we struck up a conversation of sorts. Part of the sky was clear enough to see airplanes and stars overhead. I learned the words for them in Cantonese. “Airplane” is something like “fa tze”. It took me several attempts to get the pronunciation good enough for approval by the five-year-old. And “star” is “sing-sing” or something similar. In exchange they learned that the sounds we were hearing came from “insects”. And, particularly hard for them to pronounce, they had brought “binoculars” to look at the moon.
Maybe they will come back again, and we can continue where we left off. This is a once-in-lifetime event after all.