I know it’s very late, but I keep thinking about the recent lunar eclipse. I love this photo that my friend Gary Lynch took. To me it looks like an egg coming to life.
Inspired by all my friends who were out and about on the night of the eclipse, I stepped outside several times to see what I could see. When the eclipse started, the moon was obscured by clouds, but by the time it was full the clouds had parted. Thanks to our relatively dark skies, I could still make it out as a faintly reddish black circle over the hill behind the house.
I carried a chair to where I could sit and watch the show as the shadow of the earth slipped away from the surface of the moon. At first it was just an intellectual idea. I knew what was happening.
But as the shadow receded to about a quarter coverage, it really hit me.
“That’s our shadow! That’s my shadow up there.”
The sun was right behind me, on the other side of this big beautiful soft-centered rock. I was on the face of my planet, gazing across thousands of miles.
It struck me that this is an event many of us showed up to with great anticipation. Imagine if it took you by surprise.
It’s harvest time and you are counting on a few nights of moonlight to extend your work day. You’re in the field. Your family is around you.
You’re digging up potatoes when the light starts to fade. Maybe someone you know has seen this before, maybe not. You stand in the soil with a half-full sling of potatoes hanging on your hip, looking up.
The moon slowly disappears. You are not confident that it will come back. Your child comes to hold onto your leg, her own small sling on her own small hip.
Everyone gathers at the center of the field to watch and pray that the light hasn’t gone forever. When it begins to come back, it feels like a miracle. Everyone sings a moonrise song. It starts out slow but ascends to a joyful chant as the recovery becomes complete.
You bend to your work again, praising the shadow you cast upon the ground. You wonder if the moon needs to make a point from time to time, that we sould pay attention. That we should practice gratitude.