Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What else is out there?

12:01 am marks the beginning of the Winter Solstice. But that's not the only thing happening tonight. No, no! A total lunar eclipse is also taking place tonight. In fact, a total lunar eclipse happening on the morning of the Winter Solstice is very very rare. The last time this took place was in 1638, the next time these two will coincide will be in 2094 (NASA). Needless to say, it's a sight worth staying up for. If only the clouds didn't get in the way. I went out about 12:30 to see what I could see. Unfortunately it wasn't much. We were able to catch a glimpse of a slowly disappearing moon but we weren't lucky enough to see the majestic red/orange colors that were supposed to be present. I decided to go out one more time at about 2 am just to see if anything had cleared and to my great surprise it did! The sky was super clear around the moon and I got to witness the full, glowing red moon in all its glory. I wasn't sure what to expect but it far exceeded what I had planned on. I've seen huge reddish harvest moons that sit on the tops of the mountains many times, each as breath taking as the last but this was different. This moon stood high in the sky for all to see. It glowed with a magnificence that I don't think I've seen anywhere before. Maybe its just because I've had a lot on my mind, and have been doing some thinking tonight but I was taken away with the beauty.
This rare happening that I witnessed tonight brings me into even more deep thinking. 
  • It makes me think of the wonder and the unknown out in space. 
  • I feel special to have witnessed this little piece of history. They say history is happening all around you but sometimes it's not that easy. Even though this isn't a great happening, one that will be retold in our children's children's children history books, in 2094 the news will report this same exact thing and say this hasn't been done since 2010. I plan on being able to turn to my grandchildren as we watch the red moon and tell them of the first time I saw this great happening. Not very many generations will be able to say they witnessed not one but TWO total lunar eclipses, both on Winter Solstice. 
  • It makes me feel so small. Though it also makes  me feel connected to people I don't know, to people all over the world. I'm not the only individual seeing this astronomical beauty. People everywhere are witnessing the same exact moon that I am. So while I turn my gaze star-ward and look out into the deep black depths of space and see the brilliance of the moon, I feel tiny, but knowing that I'm not alone give me the hope that even though I may be just one little person on one little planet in one galaxy of millions, I'll never be alone. 
So many thoughts are pinging around my head. I wish I had the words, the space, and the ability to reign them in and shape them into words that form sentences that flow into stories. What a great breath of fresh air would that be! But as I ponder how to do that , I've realized that maybe, if I found a way to paint the pictures in my mind with my words, I might just be left feeling empty. . I fear not having something inside to latch onto and to feel something is my own. Now I'm not sure which I would rather do, spill my words out onto paper, or bottle them up and savor the jumbled mess inside my head. 

I guess you'll just have to stay tuned to figure out what option eventually wins. Maybe I'll find another escape for the random jumbles but for now I think I will stay with letting them out slowly as more move in. 

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