and love will guide the stars


As I have been lying around feeling sorry for myself, getting my brain occasionally sucked out by a straw (courtesy of my otolaryngologist every few days), I have to remember the vibrant, shimmering world that existed before, and exists now, with an unpleasant week stuck in the middle.

So for our friends and family – and for myself – here are a few images taken over the last 14 days, skipping the part in the middle. First, a “1971 Party” celebrating Lucy’s school’s 40th graduating class:


I was going for “Failed AMC Gremlin and Pacer Salesman”

Another yearly tradition: the pinkie planting of the seedlings for the summer garden, something we’ve done together since she was two:


This year, we’ve got 12 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes, from the ostentatious Large Pink Bulgarian to the fitful Zogola and the schemin’ Dr. Carolyn. Last year’s experiment ended poorly, so this year we’re going with a heat mat/thermostat and treating ’em like royalty:


Put any song on the sound system, and our daughter will appear from whatever project she is doing, dressed in something insane, to quickly redo the room with dance. I put on Ayesha’s Dance from Khachaturian’s Gayene ballet (listen to it!) and we got this:


Not all of Lucy’s projects require extensive pre-production. She noticed the bubbles from her bubble bath drained into a vaguely-familiar shape, so she made sure it did not go unnoticed:


Using the ol’ Solar Eclipse Viewer technique perfected by years of shoeboxes and decades of virginity, I taught La Luce how to make a pinhole projector to watch the much-anticipated solar eclipse due Sunday evening before sunset. We made three sizes: Small, Better, and Monstrous!


They worked pretty well – this pic makes it look small, but it was taken over Tessa’s shoulder into the viewer:


One of my favorite memories in Chapel Hill was the day we got a partial eclipse in 1994. I was walking all over town, and noticed the sun piercing through the leaves was making millions of these tiny pinhole projectors, leaving the campus awash in tiny, wooshing crescent shadows. It might be one of the most wondrous things I’ve ever seen.

I was hoping we’d have a little of that here, but the sun was so low in the sky… then, for a few minutes, I saw the hundreds of crescents projected on our neighbor’s house:


We had to go to Lucy’s children’s chorus show, so we packed up our eclipse gear, got her dressed, and hopped in the car. And when we pulled out, I saw the mist moving in for the evening, and remembered my third grade science teacher saying “some people want a cloudless sky, but when you get a good layer of fog over an eclipse and can look straight at it, then you’re the luckiest astronomer in the world.”

The entire city suddenly got very dark and eerie, like the green and purple air you get in Iowa before a tornado. And this is what we saw:


click for bigger

A little closer in:


We made it to Lucy’s concert, and as I watched her sing “Seagull, Seagull” with her eyes wide open at the conductor, I realized I was already the luckiest astronomer in the world.


Lucy (middle) believes someone should probably get back in line

6 thoughts on “and love will guide the stars

  1. GFWD

    Today is my son’s last day of Kindergarten, so today’s nostalgic post about the Lulu Beans helped grow the lump that was already forming in my throat. Nice memories and well captured.

  2. CM

    Wow – that moon/suds photo is very calming and joyful. In fact, all of them are. Thanks for sharing your world with us.

  3. killian

    amazing, pics, all of them. Lucy dancing to Khachaturian’s music makes this tired old dance teacher incredibly happy. and the scarves!! and all the moons. fabulous, all of it. thank you.

  4. Anne

    Solar eclipses totally freak me out. They are so spooky and unnatural at midday. I can understand why primitive people thought the world was ending. For more on this, read Annie Dillard’s account of a solar eclipse in “Teaching a Stone to Talk.” Pitch-perfect description; shivery.
    Your daughter is beautiful, adorable, and clearly creatively gifted.
    I love Tessa’s Pucci dress! I lived through that era. Ian, you need way more polyester to look authentic. :-)


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