Eighteen Lunations

Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at 20:13 (UTC+0530)

I've been in a shifted state of mind all day, since staying up until 3 a.m. to watch that live streaming of the total solar eclipse in South America.  Part of the fun was watching the rapid fire comments from all over the world on the chat stream.  Thousands of people were logged in and sending a flurry of comments in all languages, telling what country they were in, being amazed (or bored) by the eclipse, sending love, sending spam, praising God (of different flavors), insisting the world is flat, that the eclipse is fake, asking when the eclipse would "land".  Two strangers even got interested in each other and, as the flow of comments pushed their brief replies quickly off the screen, managed to arrange to "meet" in a different social media forum.  I wish them all the best with their online hookup.

The morning felt like New Years Day to me.  A new lunation had begun, the first of eighteen lunations leading up to the next total solar eclipse in December 2020.  I plan to be watching that one.  The world is going to change a lot in that span of time: we will know who our next US president is going to be, after a long and brutal election season.  We will be in a new decade.  And Karen and I won't be in Sri Lanka.

Oh, did I tell you?  She is finishing her job here in the first week of August.  We will spend a couple weeks packing up and shipping our things to Scotland, selling the motorbike, and then will be off to the land of kilts and whisky.  After that ... it depends on the job search.  So I am feeling like a bit of a short timer here now, trying to really look deep and hard at everything, to burn it all into my memory.

This afternoon I was sitting in the living room, gazing deep and hard out the window at the green peak of Hantana, when I heard an unusual sound back in the guest bedroom.  Was it the wind blowing a window shut?  No, there was a second sound.  I hopped up to go check.  Coming around the corner into the bathroom I saw the long tip of a snake tail and, boy, did I turn around fast and get out of there!

Armed with a broom I crept back and saw a serpent as thick as my arm curled around an overturned bucket.  I used the broom to pull the bathroom door shut, latched it, and then called our driver friend Sampath to come over and help me out.  I put on long pants and actual shoes in case there was a battle.

Sampath buzzed up in his tuk tuk, looking sleepy but ready, and I handed him the broom (while I grabbed a camera.)  We carefully unlatched the door and opened it a crack: the snake was not on the floor anymore.  It had managed to climb the wall somehow and was already squeezing out a ventilation hole near the ceiling.  Sampath said, "don't worry, this is not dangerous, this is a garadia, rat snake."  He gave its tail a whisk with the broom to hasten its departure.

Six more weeks in Sri Lanka...