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.