Last night it was my regular night on the desk and as the lunar eclipse became more and more complete, I joined the growing crowd standing out in front of the library and gazing skyward. Somebody kept a “T minus 4 minutes to total eclipse” countdown going. Somebody else kept making up new words to the tune of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Another little group was trying to explain the phenomenon to two of their friends (who were confused about whether we were moving or the moon was… I kid you not).
Little by little, most of the people in the library ended up gathered in front of it, hopping up and down to keep feeling in our legs and simultaneously cursing the sub-zero weather and blessing it for the clear view it gave us of the eclipse. Faculty, staff, and students laughed and talked to people they’d never met, and one student turned his camera away from the moon and onto the cluster of eclipse-watchers.
Of course, once I’d seen the total eclipse, I had to return to the desk. Some may think that it was because of my well-developed sense of duty and service… but they’d be wrong. It was because I’d lost feeling in my face and thought I’d better warm up before testing the length of time it takes skin to frost bite in -10 degree temperatures.