Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Full Moon

Last night the skies lit up .... the beauty of a full moon is breathtaking. I found myself wishing I had a telescope; wishing I could catch a glimpse into a world, a universe, I have often taken for granted. I look up into the skies every night. I see the stars. I see the moon. Every morning I see the sun. The sun rises, and the sun sets. The gravitational pull of the moon on the earth causes the oceans to bulge -- high tides and low tides. I have come to take for granted the magnificence of our world. Yet something inside of me is asking me to pause, to slow down, and to ask questions ... there's curiosity that has emerged again and like a child I find myself asking questions like "what is the moon? how far away is it from the earth? ..." So I found some basic facts from National Geographic:

  • The moon is about 238,900 miles from the earth.
  • The moon takes about 27 days to orbit the earth.
  • The moon is 4.5 billion years old.
  • The moon rises in the east and sets in the west
  • At full moon and new moon, the sun, earth and the moon are lined up producing higher than normal tides, also called spring tides.
  • We always see the same side of the moon.
  • Calculation of Easter date: Easter is the first Sunday after the first Saturday after the first full moon after the equinox. (The equinox is quite often March 21, but can also occur on the March 20 or 22.)
  • An eclipse of the moon (lunar eclipse) can only occur at a full moon, and only if the moon passes through some portion of the earth's shadow. During a total lunar eclipse, the Earth blocks the Sun's light from reaching the Moon. As a result the moon appears red. 
 The next total lunar eclipse will be on December 21, 2010. My partner and I will be vacationing that week at Marco Island. This will be our third trip to Marco Island, staying at Club Regency, which is located right on the beach with our condo unit being an ocean view. Many mornings I would wake up and simply look out into the ocean and be blessed with wild dolphins swimming along the shore line. On December 21st we will be at Marco Island. December 20th will be the 42nd anniversary of when my father/Papa died. I always imagine when I look up in the skies that Papa is watching over me.

On December 21st I will feel his presence even stronger as I witness the magnificence of a lunar eclipse. And back home in St. Paul, Minnesota I will know that he sent me Ahnung (which means star in ojibway) -- and that she will continue to be my north star, and the north star for many others, so that we can find comfort, peace, and a sense of renewal even in the darkest moments.

Yes, sunrises and sunsets are beautiful.

So are the night skies.

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