Making my way across the city, I was on a mission. Clear my post office box, go and find an ice cream, then make my way to a footbridge.
Easy enough you would think.
The ice cream proved a bit more difficult than I thought. I’ve got my favourite flavours and unfortunately the Tramopline chain at Southbank doesn’t quite cut it, but it was okay. Settling on a Lamington and Violet Crumble scoops I was set. (Really could have done with a Jock’s Chocolate Chilli or Turkish Delight flavour, or maybe green tea or white chocolate and wasabi flavoured scoop – alas not to be)
It was twilight and the bridge was waiting for me.
I had to be on the bridge at 5.46 pm on the evening of 15 April 2014. Call it destiny or something. I needed to be near water and a crossing over point. This bridge was the perfect place.
Knowing I had book group after this auspicious event I was going to hang around for as long as possible.
So there I stood, on the bridge, ice cream in one hand, phone in the other with the Sky Map on the screen looking toward the horizon over the MCG.
Looking down the bridge, there were a few like me, phones in hand, staring into the distance.
“Hi, you’re here from the eclipse?” I asked the guy next to me.
We laughed at each other.
“I’ve come to see it too.” said somebody else nearby.
“Me too – I was here yesterday scoping out possies – this is the place to be. The moon rose right over the “G” last night.”
“Cool!” we chimed pretty much in unison.
So here I was, ice cream in hand with a group of randoms on a footbridge waiting for the eclipse.
As the sky was losing its light, Jonella turned up. She was on her way to book group across the river.
“What are you doing? She asked.
“Hanging out with these randoms waiting for the eclipse.” With that she was introduced to Robbie the IT nerd from Sydney, Joe the lawyer, Peter the business man from Chicago and a few others who I’d been talking to whilst staring out to the MCG.
“You always talk to random people.” she stated.
Only random people who were on the same mission as myself.
Jonella stayed on the bridge. Georgie turned up about five minutes later, joining the gathering crowd standing around facing the east.
Many passers-by asked what we were doing.
“Waiting for the full moon in total eclipse to come out from behind the MCG” was the standard answer. If I was asked I added in that it was right at the top of a cardinal cross between some pretty powerful planets. If they were really lucky I pointed out Mars and Jupiter, because I’m a nerd like that. Some moved on, but many stayed,
Slowly it appeared. A pink glow just above the trees. At first so faint and then it began it's rose glow as the light faded into a constant deep blue.
The moon glowed pink, deepening as the minutes went by. My photo doesn't do it justice.
Completely and totally mesmerized, the group of randoms stood on the bridge, happily watching this rarity of nature.At one stage, the moon took on a three dimensional perspective. It was like you could reach up into the sky and pluck it down.
We heard about the randoms celestial sightings.
Robbie, the IT guy with the ponytail had been up in far north Queensland for the last total solar eclipse a couple of years ago. The businessman from Chicago told of watching the stars in the Nevada desert.
Me, I've been fortunate enough to see the Aurora Australis - just once, at home as a teenager. I still remember standing out on the back veranda watching the night sky light up.
I also remember watching a brilliant full moon setting over Mykonos Bay from the top of the hill. The moon lit up the bay, the fishing boats bobbing in the gentle breeze.
Over the years I've seen Halley's comet, shooting stars and partial eclipses. I make a point of watching the night sky. My not so closet nerd loves learning about astronomy - and astrology for that matter.
So last night, on the footbridge, with some friends and a group of randoms watching this very powerful, very beautiful phenomenon, I felt incredibly privileged. And incredibly lucky. Robbie the IT guy was down in Melbourne on business - if he was in Sydney he wouldn't have seen this event as it was raining up there.
As time went on the moon brightened and the white light began to show through at the edges. By 6.30, the moon's full power was shining through and Jonella, Georgie and I started talking about making our way to book group.
I would have happily stood there and watched until the eclipse was completely over.
We bid a warm goodbye to the lovely randoms on the bridge.
I look at last night as one of the more perfect evenings of my life.
Okay, I'm a lunatic - somebody effected by the waxing and waning of the moon. I feel the power of the full moon. It can effect my moods - though I'm aware of this rather than succumbing to the edge that the full moon provides.I have many friends who feel the same - full moon, you feel a bit ratty, moody, empowered, on edge... whatever it does, the moon has you in its thrall.
I'm also aware that the busiest nights in police stations and hospitals are those around the three nights when the moon is at it's fullest.
Last night I knew I had to watch this most special event - to pay homage to this inconstant constant in my life. I also needed to be on water at the time. The footbridge was the only place to be.
I am so very grateful that I had the opportunity to share it with good friends - and new friends as well.
It's times like this I recognise that I am truly blessed.