Supermoons and the wonders of place- or not

This blog post originated from the bathtub.

I had been enjoying a soak and reading about the expected appearance of a supermoon that very night.  A supermoon occurs when the moon is closer to the earth than at most other points in the year.  In 2016 we get to enjoy this phenomenon not once, but three times-again on November 14th and then December 14th.  (For a more detailed explanation of this phenomenon, check out this short video from NASA .)

We all know that the moon has inspired legends and provided a setting for romance.  Its light and presence in the night sky can turn merely beautiful urban scenes into spectacular ones.  And so after reading this, I could barely stop to towel dry before poking my head into my husband’s office to announce my quest to see it.  Ever the team player, he agreed to drive us both, plus our trusty dog, to three potential viewing spots across town.  Unfortunately, said supermoon did not materialize.  Well- we knew the moon was there, buried beneath layers of clouds, but there were no glorious vistas of the bright glowing moon to be had.

This brings me to the more important point of this piece.  Sometimes when travelling, a trek to a site or monument fails to deliver what you expected.  Sometimes you may never even find the site at all.  And here is where many travel guides and bloggers (myself included) will encourage you to focus on the joys of the journey itself.  Sometimes that approach works, and reflecting on what you saw along the way really can compensate for the missed/ disappointing main attraction.

And sometimes it just doesn’t.  What could have potentially been a romantic mini road trip for us was anything but.  My spouse was at his snarky best, making a point of taking everything I said literally in an attempt at a laugh, but neither of us was feeling it.  It was 10pm on a Sunday night when we were both fighting off colds and not feeling that we’d had enough of a rest on the weekend.

We eventually accepted that the moon would not reveal itself on that outing.  When I finally did see it (from the car window en route home), the moon was just a wispy daub of faint light on a canvas of dark but unremarkable clouds smothering the night sky.  No epiphanies.  Except it felt wonderful that I had someone who was willing to go on a crazy outing with me at an unlikely time of day.  And we both noticed that the night sky was brighter than it usually was.  So we resolved to try again in November.




There has been controversy about the preservation of building facades in many cities, often seen as a consolation offering from a cynical developer who wants to rid a community of its history.  But cities have been removing and reusing parts of themselves for centuries-including in the eternal city -Rome.  For a compelling discussion of this practice, I highly recommend this thoughtful posting from the University of Washington’s study abroad course called
Engineering Rome .

Watch for another blog posting very soon.