We drove home from dinner, a cozy evening with a few friends, and changed into our nightclothes to wait. It was early, and it was cold, and we were winter-tired, feet moving to the rhythm of a primal hibernation call.
Our children were nestled under covers, watching Netflix and avoiding homework. It had the normal feel of a Sunday night, the week’s end-cap, but with the added prize of a Monday holiday, a day of commemoration and service. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.“
The week behind us included everything and nothing, a mixed bag of tough decisions and light camaraderie. There were the hum-drum but reasonably happy matters of a board meeting, book group (An American Marriage), and lemon curd. Tennis team try-outs; a traffic ticket; walking the dogs in between interminable bouts of cold rain. In the greater world an Orca calf appeared, and Mary Oliver died, and Jägermeister staged a comeback.
It is hard to predict what a single week might hold.
We lay in bed under layers of blankets, waiting, but with only a vague commitment to follow through. The dogs snored. Tiny, pin-prick stars shone through the bedroom windows, clear in the navy, winter sky. We watched an SNL skit about boomers and millennials.
At 10:15 our daughter announced she was going down the street. “You need a hat; it’s cold outside,” I called, as the front door closed behind her.
I slipped into boots, put a coat over my nightgown. “You coming?” I asked. “We could probably see it from inside, maybe from the attic,” he answered. “Not the same,” I said, and headed out.
It was bright on the lawn. I could hear the kids up the street, the sound of my daughter laughing. I gazed up, tracing Orion’s Belt, wondering how many people were doing exactly the same thing at exactly that moment.
“Hi, Jennifer,” said a neighbor who’d been standing in the street, so still and quiet I hadn’t noticed him in his dark coat and hat. His partner and her daughter were out of town for the long weekend, he said, so he was alone with the dogs, who were peering at him from behind the glass of his front door.
Another neighbor arrived, hovering near her porch so she could duck in and out, check the progress of things but also stay relatively warm. Her husband was making hot chocolate, as he had done countless times in our 15 years of communal child-rearing, only now he was making it just for the adults. “Should I get the telescope?” he wondered aloud. Too much trouble, everyone agreed. We could see well enough without it, and our children were all now too old (or maybe too young) to care, anyway.
I reached in my coat pockets, surprised and relieved to find a pair of gloves. Bernard appeared, wearing Sesame Street fleece pajamas that the children gave him for Christmas years ago.
We stood in silence, scattered across several yards, all of us looking up, necks craned at unnatural angles. I thought back to the summer I house-sat on Cape Cod and tended a victory garden, monitoring asparagus as it grew imperceptibly throughout the day, tips barely above ground in the morning but spears almost harvest length by dusk.
Squirrels made a commotion in one of the trees. A car turned at the corner, paused for a few minutes with its brights beaming up the road. Another turned behind it, honking at the stopped car and then swerving and speeding past us. One of the dads several doors down stepped into the road, yelling and waving, telling the driver to slow down. The driver gave him the finger and sped away. We resumed our vigil.
Ten minutes passed. Cheers rang from up the street. The little crowd clapped and scattered. My daughter came racing up our front steps, pausing to stick her arms inside my coat. “It’s SOOO COLD!” she shivered, while I breathed into her hair. “But it’s neat to watch, right?” I asked. “It’s the moon, Mom; it’s just the moon.” She pulled away, crossing her arms to stay warm until she reached the door. “Nice outfit, Dad,” she added; and he followed her inside in response.
“Do you think this is it?” I asked the neighbor in the street, who seemed to know most about the schedule.
“Almost,” he said, “but it might be another 30 minutes until it’s complete.”
We stood a little while longer, the last two watchers on the block.
“I think I may have seen enough,” he said, finally. “Yeah, me too,” I replied.
He walked up his stairs, and I up mine, leaving behind the tiniest sliver of moon still visible around the eclipse.
Food | Week of January 28, 2019
Last weekend, instead of writing here, I wrote my first monthly post on our Kindred Place blog. The plan is for it to be a series, perspective on what it’s like to lead a nonprofit agency. We’re also building Kindred365 post that includes something new each and every morning – food for thought, to share or savor.
Anyway, the plan was to cross-post here and then add a bit about the weekly cooking plan. Maybe next month that will work out. Here we are, nonetheless.
Last week Bernard had a hankering for meatloaf, so we dragged out The New Basics, broken binding and all, and made Market Street Meatloaf (not available online, that I can find), which was warm and comforting, even if it wasn’t ready to eat until almost 9:00. At my book group dinner we had oyster stew (I did not make it), which was also warm and comforting and delicious. It got me thinking about winter stews and how long it has been since I made one. So that’s on deck for the week ahead. And I’ll probably make more lemon curd (which I made for the book group dessert), because lemon curd is delicious and sunny and bright and easy.
Instant Pot Chicken Marbella (it’s worth a try…)