Ah! A full moon and its total eclipse; what wonders are set before us in the daily round!
Taking the time to see them or apprehend them through whatever sense they harness and ride towards our awareness is such gift. Just to distinguish and value their unique “is-ness” and to appreciate their fleeting existence is life at its holiest.
This is a glorious time of year for seeing old friends and sharing visits that allow us to “catch up” on one another’s journeys. But it can also be a hectic time of year: the month has only four weeks, like any other, after all, and they can quickly be filled with visits and parties and baking and readying our home…this year, with Christmas on a Sunday, the time for all of these annual rituals and festivities feels even more quickened and precariously scheduled…at times, I begin to feel burdened. There are too many cards to send; too many cookies to bake; too many appointments; no time to work on my writing… Gad! The floor’s a mess and it’s time to walk with the 4-leggeds and guests are due soon …
I’ve trained myself well enough to sense the moment when my feelings tip from peaceful to anxious, and when my heart’s gratitude becomes clouded with resentment; usually, this means I’m not breathing mindfully, or I need to sit and stare out the window for a while, or it’s time to juggle and rearrange plans…or take a nap.
Just stop. Slow my spirit down.
I was pondering these things and my over-filled calendar very early this morning as I awaited the moon’s eclipse at Full Moon Cottage. We so-named our home one long-ago May, when we spent our first night in our “new” home lying on a ready-made bed in the otherwise empty living room, with its tall, bare windows filling the wall we faced. The home needed so much work. The bedrooms weren’t even habitable just yet, and we didn’t want to move furniture into rooms that needed imminent demolishing and reconstruction. So there we were: far enough away from the nearby towns to enjoy moonlight and starlight more fully than ever, and the full moon’s brilliance actually brought me out of my dreams. I remember whispering Phillip into wakefulness and asking him what on earth was happening. I could see the lawn and trees, and the trees’ shadows—everything aglow and magically lit. What fantastic enchantment was creating this? (I can’t believe I was that much of a city mouse, but there you go.)
What on earth indeed. How gifted we are to have such phenomena (“things appearing to view”) offered for our delight here on our earth every moment, every day—and night. The invitation, always, is to essentially see who and what is before us. I’m reminded of those heart-breaking, haunting lines from Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, when Emily’s spirit is permitted to re-visit a day from her life and she grieves—really seeing how little we appreciate the holiness of our lives, just as they are:
Emily: Oh, Mama, look at me one minute as though you really saw me…just for a moment now we’re all together, Mama; just for a moment we’re happy. Let’s really look at one another! (Pause) I can’t. I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back — up the hill — to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Good-bye, Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute?
Stage Manager: No. (pause) The saints and poets, maybe they do some.
In a few weeks, another holiday season will have passed. I don’t want it to pass in a blur; I want to see and “be with” every moment, so far as that’s possible. And with all the precious moments that follow. Anticipation of coming events is lovely, but not when it leapfrogs ahead of the here and now. Less baking, minimum cleaning, no shopping: I’m allowing the time I have to “open” and give me the room to be present to the people and 4-leggeds I cherish and our precious time together. I want to look at them all, and the dear world around us, to really see, deeply listen, and truly be with them.
In the end, we couldn’t see the eclipse; instead, we enjoyed a mug of coffee and sat on the eastern side of the house, watching a glorious sunrise over the river. A horned owl flew low over the frosted lawn, pursuing a rabbit, who scampered and just managed to squeeze safely under the deck. Phillip warmed my hands after my frigid dash down our l-o-n-g driveway—wearing my nightgown—to photograph the moon. Ah! The sky presented a dazzling interpretation of the red-orange-yellow end of the spectrum, and the mint-flavored coffee tasted like heaven. Together, we toasted the new day we knew would be full of the wonders the earth set before us.
Peace and All Good.