So it was all moot... right until the moment I realised that the 3 AM applied to the OTHER COAST. That is to say, the whole thing would take place at a semi-reasonable hour over where I am.
So I wandered outside and looked up at the sky through the trees - and right in front of me things didn't seem to be going well. The sky was a uniform gray, with no visible stars. Huh. Well, that would be that, then.
Yeah - well - I'm direction challenged. I happened to turn around just before I walked back inside and was startled by... a fuzzy moon visible through the ragged thin clouds that were scudding across its face. I couldn't see it CLEARLY but I could definitely SEE it.
That was worth a shot.
I walked out into the front yard, for a possible better view - which turned out to be possible at all only when I stumbled into the flowerbed via the stepping stones laid into the ground. In the dark, because I didn't want to switch outside lights off and blast my night vision all to hell. So I took it slowly and carefully, one gingerly feeling around foot at a time, and finally found a spot where the fuzzy moon hung in the sky in between two tall cedars.
And stood there, with my head back, with my arms tucking my coat around me, with my eyes on the heavens.
I saw the shadow come. But the clouds were not kind; they thickened and curdled just as the shadow was almost total. In ragged gaps, I glimpsed what might have been a copper coin in the sky - but it was hard to tell, really, and perhaps the rosy light washing the edges of the clouds was just imagination after all.
But I saw the shadow come. In honour of all the pagan gods my ancestors might ever have believed in, I stood outside at midnight on the night of the winter solstice and watched the shadow eat the moon and turn it the colour of blood.
(From the sublime to the ridiculous - the cats HATED it that I was outside in the dark alone. Hated it. I saw them both on the windowsills of two separate windows, hovering, their very silhouettes annoyed and worried. I am told that my beloved Fluffy Prince stalked into rdeck's office and proceeded to give him a good howling talking-to, berating him for permitting me to indulge in such obviously perilous practices - I didn't hear this but apparently it was vocal and it was heartfelt. Aw. My catses love me after all. And just as a matter of irrelevant data - it was their birthday yesterday, too. They're seven. When I got them they were eight weeks old, and weighed a pound apiece. How time flies.)