Tuesday, October 1, 2013

52. The Spooky Night

On Sunday, Romao called me outside with a note of urgency in his voice.  

"Lisa," he said.  "Come here.   Come here.  There's something in the sky."

There was a strange tone to his voice-- a duality of awe and fear.  I didn't like it.  I stopped what I was doing.  

Romao and his brother were stopped in the yard, pointing up at the sky.

"Look," he said.  "What is that?"

I stepped into the yard and squinted, taking a cautious step backwards.  "Where..." I said.  "Wait.  What is that?"

It was a faint, glowing spot.  At first, I thought it was the moon behind a cloud.  But there weren't any clouds.  A spotlight?  No.  Not in Mozambique.  A meteor?  A comet?  A forming nebula?  Did a star explode?

Photo credit here

"It's a sign from God," whispered Romao.

I'll admit that I didn't like it.  I didn't understand it, so it made me feel nervous.  

Then, the wind picked up.  Slowly, the shape of the disk began to flatten and dissipate.  Feeling confused and vaguely upset, we all went inside.  

The weather got colder and the wind started to howl.  The trees started swaying and the metal roof started knocking and soon the sky was wailing.  Then the house went black.  The energy had cut.  

We found out later that the white disc was caused by rocket fuel.  As the US Falcon 9 entered into orbit in the sky above Bloemfontein, it starting dumping fuel, forming a white circular cloud that was visible over much of southern Africa.  It was a perfectly reasonable explanation for a strange and spooky phenomenon. 

The incoming storm, of course, was utterly unrelated.

But it proves just how human we all can be, and how superstitious, small, and scared.  

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