Events like last night’s supermoon and lunar eclipse are perfect moments that remind us just how incredible our universe is, and how lucky we are to be witness to it. In the UK, the eclipse occurred in the early hours of Monday morning and, although I had to get up for work at 6.30am, I was determined to get up at 3.20am to watch it happen.
Wrapped in a thick dressing gown, two blankets, hand warmers and a woollen headband, I sat out in my garden with a mug of ginger-lemon tea for extra warmth. Aside from the occasional rustling of some unseen night-time critters, I was alone, just looking at the moon. From our vantage point, the earth’s shadow turned the surface of the moon a reddish-orange – the rare and famous ‘blood moon’. With the brightness of the full moon dimmed, I could see many, many stars shining brightly.
I tried to capture a few photographs, but neither of my cameras could do the spectacle justice. So, instead, I just sat and looked at it (occasionally using a pair of binoculars for a closer look). It is awe inspiring when you really think about the movements of the planets through space, when you consider the physical bulk of the earth and the grace with which she moves, when you can actually watch her shadow crossing the moon’s surface with your own eyes. So much goes on in the planetary heavens that we don’t see, so to be able to witness something like last night’s lunar eclipse (or the solar eclipse earlier in the year) with your own two eyes is very special indeed.
I was just about to go back to bed to get another hour of sleep when an owl started hooting nearby. I looked at this mystical, orange moon and realised I was too entranced by the moment to be able to go back to bed just yet. It was too magical, too fairy tale-like, as if I had crossed into some Celtic dream world. Just then, a meteorite soared across the sky, right next to the moon, downwards as if it was heading for earth itself. Wow! A few moments later, I caught sight of another shooting star. This is the stuff of myth and folklore, the stuff of magic – just the kind of magic we need to revitalise our souls.
Whether you believe in some kind of divine plan or evolution by chance, natural and celestial phenomena like this remind us how lucky we are to be present on this planet. Either way, our existence is a miracle. Our planet, our solar system, our universe is a miracle. We should cherish each blessed moment, grateful for every minute we live and breathe on our fair planet, and never forget to smile at the moon as she hangs brightly in the sky.