It is midnight. I am alone. Sitting on the concrete, dressed in my pajamas and an old ratty sweater. In my haste I forgot my shoes, so I am sitting here cross legged, clad only in socks and I think there is a hole near my right toe as I can feel a breeze. A colder than normal April night breeze. I set up my tripod beside me and loop a pair of binoculars over my head.
The thin clouds are somewhat wistful, wishing perhaps to linger alongside me, but the stars push their way through with a shove. Not tonight you! For what we are about to see is a rare and special nocturnal performance.
A lunar eclipse.
The night of the blood moon.
Therefore, I am rolling out the red carpet, welcoming the stars and their entourage. The planets are lining up and the celestial orchestra tunes up in anticipation of the main event. Celebrants gather to bear witness. There are parties all over the country, probably more warmly dressed than I.
Unfortunately I was not invited to any of them. And from my vantage point here on my driveway, I gather that none of my neighbors were on the list of VIP’s.
I look up and down my street and the lights are off in the neighboring houses. Part of me is sad, as I would readily share their company, I think. But a part of me is selfish, as I am a solitary explorer of the universe, or so I tell myself, and my only concern is that someone will peek through their windows and espy me sitting here and considering my age, think I am having a senior moment and call the police. Or worse, think I am an intruder, or even worse, a window peeper with a pair of binoculars sneaking a peek.
I secure my camera to the tripod and glance skyward to adjust the zoom, when I see it. The moon. Full of itself. Just like me. And across the night sky we are both illuminated. Both somewhat cratered and certainly well aged, but if nothing else, consistent in our heady comfort that we will keep an eye on one another in good days and bad.
A lunar eclipse. A moment of universal perfection. When the Sun, the Earth and the Moon align in formation. Sun. Earth. Moon. Each must play a part. The Moon sashays behind the Earth into its light or umbra. The Sun shimmers. And the Earth sits smack dab in the middle. While I, ride the middle planet, on the cold concrete in the dark of night.
The first is a slice. Like a bite out of a sugar cookie.
Ah. I run inside for a cookie, but there are none so I grab a handful of potato chips. I mean this IS a party after all.
Gradually, the surface of the moon disappears, nibble by nibble.
I shoot picture after picture.
It is now 2AM and the moon is a radiant orange ball. Soft light halos around its perimeter and I am agape with wonder. I want to yell, do you see it? Don’t miss it! But if I was dangerous at midnight, hollering at this hour will surely result in my arrest. Besides, the view is arresting enough in itself.
I rise and gather up my belongings and head back inside. As I enter the house, I notice the temperature gauge on the barometer...
... and it reads.... 22 degrees.
Twenty-two degrees! At that moment, I also notice that I cannot feel my hands or my feet and that my rear end is frozen. I think I have hypothermia. Oh, and that hole in my sock, well, my toe is sticking out and oh my dear me what have I done? About twenty minutes later, I begin to thaw and laugh right out loud at my foolishness, but I raise a fist in triumph, because I have proof that my midnight wanderings were worth a brush with death.
Pictures. I have pictures.
Ummm. No I don’t.
Am I disappointed? Nope.
I saw it with my own eyes. I was THERE.
Sometimes it is much more important to pause long enough to take in what is happening around you. To show up. To be patient. To put down all electronic and digital and telephonic gadgets. To try not to squeeze time into a single frame. To refrain from conversation and commentary and to simply be a witness to the grandeur.
A blood moon. A sign of a change. I saw my first one in the middle of a field with my fifth grade class. I stood beside our lead teacher, a marvel, a mentor, who taught Me how to teach. I am the same age now that she was then. That’s what she said to me that night. Be open to change. Be ready for it. And while you are being nimble and flexible and open and aware, if you feel at all nervous, just remember to look up, into the night sky, where everything, is always changing and where the stars and the moon and the sun rarely seem hysterical. In fact, she said...
You might even see a Moonbow.
I haven’t. Seen a Moonbow.
But they occur. All over the world.
And if I ever see one. I’ll invite you to the party.
Get your pajamas ready. And leave your cameras at home.
This one you’ll need to see to believe.
Oh and I did get one picture.
A moonbat and a full moon...
Thursday, April 10, 2014
and there seems to be no cure...
My symptoms, a mind full of congestion, a stuffed up brain and a remote in my hand searching for the quickest fix, the remedy, the relief as I listen to the TV ads touting the cure to ease the pain. Sure, there is a cure, but one tenth of the ad describes the cure while the remaining nine tenths are the brutally honest disclaimers as to why it also just might kill you.
Time to take sides. Weigh the benefits against the risks.
A balancing act between what to do and what not.
But my mind is so addled and fevered that I am not sure I can walk a straight line let alone think in one.
I am in need of a syzygy pill.
Something I can take to realign the sun, the moon and the earth and me.
My left brain is a cough and my right brain a sneeze, and the end result is an intercranial disconnect.
Out of sync. No coordination, no communication, simply random bursts of energy. In other words I am babbling like a brook, but in truth a brook never actually babbles, it moves in a non random gently comforting rhythmic pulse. Like the curve of the coast, the branches of the tree trunks outside my window, the petals on the tulips about to burst open in the green glass vase on my window ledge.
A field trip. I grab my camera and head outside to the garden. It is early in the spring, so my expectations of a soothing balm seem silly, but there is something drawing me out here. And as soon as I step onto the patio I glance up at the birch tree and feel my heart begin to slow.
But my head sees a different picture all together. The camera captures what is there. My head, my slowing down brain picks up a watercolor brush and fills in the familiar patterns of the lime green leaves perfect in their symmetry in line, design and color of what is not there, yet. For a fraction of a second I am able to see exactly what I have come to expect, as my brain reassures me with the memories etched over time. One side of my brain, the left side, sees the perfect little triangles while the other side, the right side fills in the blanks with whatever my imagination can muster.
There is absolutely nothing here. (Click me! Click Me!)
The healing brush. The brush most of us artists and photographers use with our left hand to erase what we do not want to see, while when placed in our right hand can miraculously fill in what we need to see.
The healing brush that restores balance and the symmetry.
Did you click? I told you there was nothing there!
How to heal a fractured mind? I tap my forehead. The answer is there somewhere, but I just can’t seem to put my finger on it. So I sit here staring at my finger and once again my heart slows a bit and I see it clearly. Not my finger silly, my fingerprint. The unique, one of a kind, whorl pattern that is my very own trademark. My fingerprint. So I tie a string around my finger to help me remember, that while I have a singular soul with no symmetrical mate, there is a theory, the string theory that defines the fundamentals of nature from the most grand to the tiniest particle, from those too far away to see to those too small to detect, but can be envisioned by the world’s smartest mathematicians.
The left brain people.Calculating, mind full of numbers and equations always in search of what is there.
The right brain folks the empty headed loose limbed flibbertigibbets of flights of fantasy waiting quietly for the what is missing to appear.
The Zigs and Zags of the world, at least in my little world and in my little brain, may take different paths in their search for the truth, but in the end they meet with surprise and wonder when they meet in Nature.
The left brains call them fractals.
The right brains call them patterns.
But whatever you call them, the fingerprints of nature are everywhere.
Visible to anyone.
Willing to quiet the mind, slow their breathing, and to wait.
Wait! Wait? No nothing here, yet. (Click Me Click Me)
See I told you there was nothing. You clicked anyway. You did too!
I do not do waiting well either. I think I must move, move, move and do do something. Fill in the blank. Solve the puzzle. Answer the question.
So I do do do and up up up goes my blood pressure, and I begin to pace, and to outline and plan, absolutely sure that the ratio of my struggles to the enormity of the problem should be symmetrical.
I worry and I fret and I ponder and exhaust myself until I nod off in my chair with my pencil poised over my paper....
And in that moment, before eyes closed and the coming of sleep, I sigh. Which is really just my left and right brain blowing me a raspberry and telling me to take a break.
We’ve got this covered if you’d just shut up and get out of the way.
And in that sweet moment when you open your eyes, and before the day rushes back in with all its watches and warnings, there, there in the stillness, between breath in and breath out, Sweet Mother Nature takes over and the elusive, the evasive, the hard to reach lies nestled in the palm of your hand and you smile.
The answer is exactly where it always is.
Like every good thing in nature’s fine design,
a portrait of symmetry and balance.
A one of a kind design connected to the rest of the world...
Honest. Now that your heart is calm and your mind is still...perhaps you will see it...just like I did...in that moment between eyes closed and the coming of sleep.
Really really click me.