A hope note
The other night I witnessed my first total lunar eclipse.
That full moon was an eerie sight, a cross between a dark, blood-red, scuffed-up tennis ball and a pockmarked brick-red Christmas ornament dangling in the east. The total eclipse lasted almost an hour. No wonder primitive people, watching the moon turn to blood, feared the gods were angry or the world was coming to an end or both.
A total eclipse of the moon has happened about 50 times in my lifetime. I would guess maybe half of those nights my view might have been obstructed by weather. Why didn’t I bother to go out and look up the other 20 or 30 times? Mother Nature served me an extravaganza ‘ free of charge ‘ and I didn’t care enough to look. Maybe the competition was ‘Wheel of Fortune’ or ‘Have Gun, Will Travel.’ The last few times I probably fell asleep on the sofa.
I religiously anticipate sunrises. I made a promise to myself years ago that every morning I am up at the crack of dawn, I will look east. Life is too short to miss one more beautiful dawn.
My naturalist guru, advocate for imbibing eclipses and sunrises and nature’s other charms, William Wordsworth wrote: ‘The world is too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers. Little we see in nature that is ours. We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!’
He concludes: ‘Great God! I’d rather be a pagan suckled in a creed outworn ‘ so might I, standing on this pleasant lea, have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; have sight of Proteus rising from the sea, or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.’
I’m with Wordsworth. The next full lunar eclipse is scheduled for Dec. 21, 2010.