Two recent stellar phenomena have enriched my sense of wonder. My vantage point for the Full Blood Moon eclipse was a patch of sand on a darkened beach. The pulse of the throbbing surf was behind, placid sand below. I was the only wallflower during the dance of shadows. The moon crept mutely above the narrow Intercostal Waterway casting long shadows over sleeping souls in concrete condos that dominate the westward horizon of this barrier island.
The moon was ice bright – it illuminated and hardened the boundaries between land, sea and sky. As the moon slipped behind the earth – it’s secrets were hidden in the murky umbra. For a brief time the sun, earth, and moon were in perfect celestial alignment. Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, shone brightly a hair’s breadth to the west of the moon. I remembered myths about Spica being the spring sentinel of virgins – promising new life as women learned lunar secrets. Earth’s shadow lost its grip leaving in its veil a muted orb the color of diluted wine held up in sunlight. Spica’s twinkle remained free of the shadow – it has as much power as the sun and will not be dimmed by force.
Things don’t stay in perfect lines forever. Watching the moon slip away from the earth’s shadow reminded me of how the present slips to the past in order to allow space for the future ahead. Past, present, and future are never really in alignment – the subtle variances in time create change – predicted and unexpected events and feelings.
I was reading a book the next day sitting in the same spot – a bit tired from my late date with the cosmos. The light reflected off my Kindle seems to fuzz abit. The sky above just nine hours earlier had held the moon captive in darkness. Now the noon day sun was encircled with a shadow that was embraced by a rainbow. I slowly rose and wondered aloud – what is happening to the sun? What about our line up last night? Is this circle around the sun an omen? And if so, of what?
I saw tiny slivers of clouds high in the stratosphere that cast no shadows on the land. A cold front had come through hours earlier – strong winds chilled the sand and roused the surf. Global warming or sun cooling – either way – for as long as it took the earth to move out of the way for the sun to illuminate the moon – white light was broken into a spectrum of color. The circle held for minutes and then simply vanished as the sun began it’s daily descent.
Spring is a time of warming to new life. Life and death dance with shadows – they are never quite in alignment or keep a clear and steady rhythm. The first full moon after our spring equinox was bloodied by earth’s shadow. Of course it didn’t die – but was it changed by it’s brief time in utter darkness? Did it feel for a moment that the sun had forsaken it or the earth had broken its covenant to keep it in a close and predictable orbit? Did the sun boast of its power by breaking light into colors? No. It did what it was created to do – blaze on. Just as the light of the moon is a reflection of the sun and could again be seen when it was freed by the shadow of a rock that was moved by eternal forces of nature – the night died and the next day rose again.
The world we live in can’t be explained with just science because life itself is a mystery nobody has solved. Happy Easter.