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And the moon shone brightly
My fascination with the moon pulls me out into the dark to marvel at the shape, colors, and mysterious formations. I peer out the windows catching a glimpse of the thumbnail moon, or I stand in awe in the early morning as the full moon mirrors the sun as each departs night and begins day.
In the days preceding the recent lunar eclipse, my son kept us abreast of the weather and atmospheric conditions, keeping our fingers crossed that nature would cooperate. I searched for how to photograph the moon, specifically, a total lunar eclipse.
Notes in hand, telescopes, and tripod stationed on the lawn, we waited.
I wondered how ancient people explained a phenomenon that they had so little means of understanding. Mythology and legends tied to cultural and spiritual beliefs provided the answers to satisfy the need for certainty.
An Incan myth explained that a jaguar attacked the moon, leaving it blood red, and the jaguar threatened to devour humans on earth. The Mesopotamians saw the total eclipse as an attack on their king. Throughout human history, we have thought the total eclipse and the moon's color predicted calamities to come or the end of the world.
When I looked up in the night sky at the round red moon, I saw nature reminding me of all the curious, inexplicable, and interdependent mysteries I too often take for granted.
My favorite total eclipse myth comes from the Batammaliba people in Togo and Benin in Africa.
In this myth, during an eclipse, the sun and moon fight, and the people try to stop them. According to Jarita Holbrook, a cultural astronomer at the University of the Western Cape in Bellville, the Batammaliba people “see it as a time of coming together and resolving old feuds and anger.”
Oh, that all humankind could see with those eyes!
I wrote about The Moon: A Story of Mystery, Hope, and Wonder
If you missed last week’s total lunar eclipse, check out this replay from NASA.
King Harvest’s Dancing in the Moonlight may be considered a one-hit-wonder, but I like the idea of dancing freely with an open heart under the light of the moon.
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
The night walked down the sky with the moon in her hand.
—Frederic Lawrence Knowles
Find a little wonder this week in yourself and nature.
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