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Monday
Dec122011

How to Disappear Completely

I wake early and slip as silently as possible out of bed, quietly gathering clothes and camera gear and making my way to a neighborhood park to shoot the eclipse. It is completely dark and very cold when I pull up to the edge of the lake and the shadow is only beginning to show on the upper edge of the moon. It is also very comfortable in the car and as the seat warmers kick in I decide I can wait until the eclipse gets a little further along to set up my shot. After a few minutes I turn off the radio and sit there in silence, watching the shadow slowly slowly eat the moon.

Last weekend I was Skyping with a friend who asked me if I get much alone time. Um, my commute, I noted a little more bitterly than I intended. Three-year-olds, husbands, and work collaborators seem to demand a lot of attention.

People start pulling up to the lake, getting out to watch the moon.

Commute. Alone. If I'm going to insist on being one of those wasteful Americans in my gas-guzzling car driving to work by myself, maybe I should take advantage of the chance to be alone.  I noticed this last week and resisted the habit of making phone calls on the way to work.  Quiet.

Long lenses and tripods begin to populate the lakeshore.  Orange creeps into the eastern sky behind me.  In the car I am alone.

I sit for an hour and a half. The eclipse is so gradual but somehow the moon becomes a sliver suddenly, and it's sinking toward the mountains fast. I came here to take a picture - the third month in a row I have tried in vain to shoot the full moon - but by the time I get the tripod out of the car I don't have time to find the right place to set up or frame the shot the way I'd imagined.

It's strange that you can race through life at such a pace as to approach terminal velocity, but when you do sit you can totally lose track of the urge to move at all.

In the end, I only fired a couple frames of the eclipse. Immediately after it sunk behind the mountains I had to fight off regret for not trying harder to get the shot. Missed opportunity! What was I thinking?! It's not the shot I came here to make!

But the warmth. The quiet. The shadows. The light.

Invisible.

Peace.

Reader Comments (10)

Beautiful. Your words. This photograph. I love the image you captured. I love that you are seeking some quiet in your busy days. Much love. xoxo

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan @ Life Refocused

tis a breathtaking shot, nonetheless. truly! I wouldn't have known it wasn't one of 100 if you hadn't said.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

wonderful!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertamar

But YOU saw it. And you let me see a bit of it. So thank you.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlifeineden {amy}

Looks like you got both...the peace and the beautiful shot!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkelly

as if it wasn't hard enough to get a moment actually physically alone, it is all the more difficult to appreciate and relish in that time. there's always a phone call to make, email to check, another fleeting thought to jot down. there will be more full moons. there will be more eclipses. you needed more than that. and hopefully you feel like you got what you needed, if only for a moment.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermae

Looks good to me.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGrigorisgirl

Corinna - obviously you needed the silence and the quiet, the time to just be. And whether it was the shot you meant to take or not, I love that you captured what you did - an eclipse and the mountains - neither of which are readily available to me here in Ohio. Thank you for sharing your moment of peac.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

And - you were there..and you did see it..and more important - you experienced that sense of peace..that moment of complete and utter stillness and silence. Definitely worth getting out of bed for!

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarcie

Well you did a lot better than me--I forgot to set the alarm and slept right through it. This is a beautiful sight! Your thoughts here are so well written and so relevant Corinna--great stuff as always

December 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher

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