Sometimes it’s incredibly hard to connect with my teenagers.
Alright, let’s be honest. Just strip off the first word of the last sentence and give it a reread.
Even so, there are times where the sun and the moon and the stars align, and for a small window of time, conversation flows, laughter bubbles and no one ends up sporting a flesh wound.
And lest you think I’m using the astronomical expression in jest, I assure you I am not. This rare event of ‘togetherness’ occurred on the night of the “Supermoon.”
This is a name that was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. Loosely defined, it’s a full (or new) moon that’s as close to the Earth as it will get without bumping into us. If the moon had arms and fingers, it could practically touch us at that point in its elliptical orbit.
And just for a second, I’m requesting all science and space-minded folks to please work with me here. The rest of us will surely struggle if I’m required to use correct terminology like perigee and apogee and syzygee. Maybe we can all agree that once every eighteen years the earth’s horizon births the largest chunk of lunar disk we can likely remember ever seeing. It’s like watching a cheese-colored growth sprout from the ground way off in the distance.
On this particular night, the three of us sat on the porch and ate a dinner none of us were particularly interested in. But we all agreed it might be nice to watch the sun set and listen to the transition of day sounds to night sounds. Day sounds around here are birds, tractors, cows and bees. Night sounds are whippoorwills, frogs, crickets and shotguns. For years, I’ve attempted to alter my mental interpretation of that last sound. I now simply classify them as … angry birds.
I have to admit that about fifty percent of the time, when in my kids’ company, I cannot understand what they are talking about. They’re mostly trendy topics I only begin to clue into after hearing about them on NPR—way after they’ve become moth-eaten and someone has written a book about them—or I Google them myself and realize that I’m so outdated, even my browser acts judgmentally and flashes me a quick subliminal message of, That was so yesterday.
There’s also a small percentage of the time when I find I cannot understand what my kids are talking about even to the extent that I cannot understand their words. Period.
But this usually happens when we’re all together, I’ve just finished speaking, and the two of them turn to one another and start talking–then laughing. It takes me a minute to grasp that they’ve switched to Spanish. Solely for the purpose of making fun of me.
Every time scenario number one happened on the night of the Supermoon, I excused myself and dashed to the other side of the house to check on the progress of the moonrise . I didn’t want to miss it, plus it gave me a little privacy to quickly Google whatever it was they were talking about.
Every time scenario number two happened, I excused myself to “check on the progress of the moonrise” but actually went into their bedrooms and programmed their alarm clocks to go off every hour from 3 am onward, and then next secured a piece of duct tape over their bathroom faucets with just a tiny gap at the front.
¡Yo soy la madre de la venganza!
Eventually, on one of my return trips, I saw the moon begin to surface. I raced to get the kids, telling them to come to my bedroom balcony. Of course we made such a ruckus the dog insisted on joining us, and his added enthusiasm woke the sheep, who then wandered out the barn and into the meadow to add their bellowing two cents worth. And as is natural for farm animals, once one is awake and bawling, all animals on surrounding farms and within earshot join in the uproar, which then sends every local hound dogs in a tailspin and the only thing that can quiet the whole tumultuous pandemonium is a couple of rounds from the angry birds.
Once everyone had given the thumbs up indicating they were clear of gushing bullet holes, we were back to admiring the Supermoon. And it was super.
Massive and luminous, this sallow-colored ball rose through wisps of clouds, illuminating the hazy sky to glow with shades of cream, biscuits and buttermilk.
Moon gazing is hungry work.
Binoculars opened a vast new window of detail, leaving me amazed at the similarity between this orbiting satellite and an unpeeled orange. (Yes, dinner was totally unsatisfying.)
I’d never seen such clarity and true splendor. It was magnificent.
I could have stayed there all night, but a storm was brewing outside. Of course, it wouldn’t be long until lashing bolts of deafening thunder were unleashed inside as well.
But I could live with that. It made a nice change of pace from the unsettling hashtag lingo and the growing flock of angry birds.
Shine on you crazy pearl.
Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery (here) and what we all talked about down in the pub (here). And to see more of Robin Gott’s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone–click here.
- NASA Hubble Finds New Neptune Moon (spacedaily.com)
- PHOTOS: Goodnight Super Moon (kfor.com)
- Super Detailed WebGL Moon (creativejs.com)