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Lunar Eclipse April 15, 2014
Lunar Eclipse April 15, 2014

LAKE MACBRIDE— Sunday and Monday rain was welcome and much needed. According to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, 2.7 inches fell. The ground remains too wet for planting, and this morning, temperatures dipped below freezing— it’s 25 degrees presently and too cold for outdoors work. There was a large crew at the farm yesterday, so the soil blocking for the week got done without me. If the ground dries later in the week, there will be planting, but for now there is a schedule gap— also welcome and much needed.

The sound of cello on my smartphone alarm woke me at 1 a.m. to view the total lunar eclipse. Still in my bedclothes, I pulled up the blinds and the sky was as clear as it gets. The eclipse had just begun.

I pulled on my jeans and a shirt, donned my winter coat, and went outside to witness the proceedings. The houses were mostly dark and moonlight reflected off the surface of the lake. Only the sound from a distant I-380 could be heard. I was the only person outside in my neighborhood.  It was worth breaking deep sleep to watch as Earth dimmed the moon for a while.

There were spectacular images and a live stream available on the Internet, but I preferred my own view, filtered by the atmosphere and my aging retinas, captured on a handheld digital camera. Along with the light pollution from Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, the Milky Way could be seen. And so many stars.

Checking my email on the smartphone before heading back to bed, I found my state representative, Bobby Kaufmann, formally announced his campaign for re-election yesterday. That’s not really news, just a tick mark off a list of political events I am monitoring. The newspaper asked me to do interviews with the two candidates in the Democratic primary, and I accepted the assignment. The newspaper work gives me more reason to keep my views in this race to myself.

When I returned to bed, I slept a full five hours, and am ready for the day with the unexpected gift of a couple of hours to myself. A rarity in sustaining a life on the Iowa prairie.