Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Clear Night for Seeing Less of our Moon

Both of the kids were *way* excited to see last night's lunar eclipse. Astrid's class had spent the previous two days learning the phases of the moon, chanting songs and hearing "legends"/"leyendas" about the moon, and painting pictures of what they thought the eclipse would look like. Elliot may not have known as much about it as Astrid did, but a newspaper article posted on the door of Astrid's school gave him the viewing times--which, in turn, helped him figure out just how diligent he'd need to be with his spelling homework if he wanted to be allowed to moongaze.

Of course, it was all of 10 degrees Fahrenheit last night in Chicago, so moongazing was perhaps not as romantic as it might have been on other nights (unless you're Elliot, for whom there is nothing as thrilling as the nighttime sky....except, possibly, for sundown at a baseball game when his team is ahead).

Our neighbor and four of her kids, ages eight to two, were wrapped in blankets and snuggling on the sidewalk when we came out. Astrid, somewhat surprisingly, agreed to share her store of moon lore with Rose, Agnes, R.J., and Joey. She sounded confident, even when she was pronouncing words like "legend" (our two families had a brief discussion of "what a legend is," and even got into the epistemological status of myth. I love talking philosophy with children!). We spent about ten minutes looking at the eclipse as it was just getting underway, and then went in to warm up for about 20 minutes. We came out for another 10 minutes, at which point it was past Astrid's bedtime. Elliot and I went out once more after another 20 minute warmup. Once Astrid was finally asleep, Terry got to get outside to see the moon just past the point of the full eclipse. Sitting outside in such cold weather got me really, really sleepy, and I slept well.

The first thing Elliot wanted to talk about this morning--again, no shock here--was the eclipse, and how many of his classmates were likely to have seen it. Every time we get to see something special in the sky, he stores the experience more or less permanently; he seems to get nothing but pleasure from remembering those times.

No comments: