Meditations while Tresspassing to see the Moon

I almost forgot about the lunar eclipse last night. I’ve been staying with my friends, and they were already going to bed when the alarm I’d set for the moon went off. Consequently, I watched the eclipse in happy solitude. The moon was visible from their lawn, and just beginning to seep away into darkness at that time. It was a brisk pacific northwest night though, and some time until the total eclipse, so I decided I would start walking and see if there wasn’t somewhere I could get a clearer view of the sky, with less light pollution.

I began playing a game in which there were only two rules: don’t stop walking, and don’t lose sight of the moon. Walking toward the moon, I found myself en route to campus, and I wove all over the grounds trying to keep the slowly disappearing moon in sight. With the towering brick structures everywhere, this was somewhat of a challenge.

Of course, there was an unbelievable amount of light pollution on the college campus, so I realized that my best bet would be to get on the other side of it where all of its light would be behind me and the only thing before me would be the dark expanse of the less residential south side of the city. At the edge of campus, I came across the athletic fields which were clearly posted: NO TRESPASSING, which of course, to me, sounded like an invitation to the best place a girl could hope to see the eclipse from. If there was one thing I learned from my father, it was that it’s hardly a celestial event if you don’t trespass to see it. I walked the perimeter of the fields, and found at the very south side of them there was a huge gravel parking lot, dark and neglected. It was the best place to scale the chain link fence because it was so far from everything else, and after a moment’s deliberation of the phrase VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED, I hopped onto and over the fence in a flash. My feet got wet as I landed in the dewy grass on the other side, but aside from nearly freezing my toes off, it was a lovely experience.

There was a small hill between the parking lot fence and the field itself, so I nestled myself on that where I would not be seen by anyone on the other more populated side of it. There were a few trees planted there, and I found that the bark beneath them was not wet like the grass, and actually made for a very nice place to sit down on the incline. Facing the moon in the southern sky, I watched the shadow swallow it up and leave it a beautiful red color.

Right as it went total, a car pulled up in the deserted parking lot though. Not knowing who it was or what authority they might represent, I stood up and pressed myself to the tree where I would not be noticed, still watching the eclipse through the tree branches. No one stepped out of the car, and I gathered they were just there to see the eclipse. As a cloudy haze passed over the round, red moon, they bored of the event and drove off again. It was just minutes after the eclipse had gone total that it became little more than a red blur of light behind a veil of thin, dark clouds. Thinking it best to get out before anyone else came around, I hoped the fence again, being more careful to dismount without hurting myself when I was going from the grass side to the gravel side. I had the upper body strength to support myself while I found footing, and the physical understanding of balance to safely get myself down in one motion. It’s surprising how many little ways in which circus has paid off.

Walking out of the parking lot, a police car passed me by.

I was impressed with how easily I navigated campus after only one tour of it, and I made my way home without any incident. When I collapsed on the couch, I fell straight out and slept soundly until the morning; except for one moment in the wee hours of the morning that I woke up with the moon shining directly into my eyes, clear as day and white as milk once again.


(photo shamelessly stolen from National Geographic.)

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