Moon


The driving rain of the weekend has tapered off to showers, but the clouds still hang low in the sky.  The new moon has all but disappeared.  The sun rose an hour later — according to my reset clock.  And the world felt silent, small, and dark.  And I felt silent, small, and dark as well.  I remember when I was a child that this kind of morning was one when I would be afraid of the dark.  I would lie in my bed with the covers pulled up to my nose and try not to make a sound as the darkness closed in around me.  It was such a relief to see the sun begin to shine through my window or to hear the sound of my parents waking up and moving around the house.

Today I sneered at the alarm clock and cursed it for interrupting my dreams.  For a second, I considered trying to sink back into my pillow and see what the outcome would be; but the moment had been lost.  As I lay in the darkness, I could remember those childhood mornings when the darkness seemed to close in and compress me and I would try just to breathe until the light returned to the world.  How different the darkness feels now that I’m older.  It no longer closes in, but rather expands in my mind beyond the distance my eyes could see.  I feel tiny for another reason, but not compressed or confined.  I can feel the universe pull me to the always out-of-reach limitless limits of its great expanse.

I think, there in the darkness, how the dark times in my life have also pulled me toward growth that has exceeded the limits I’ve placed on myself.  It wasn’t a pleasant kind of growth at those times — not like reading a book that lights the mind or meeting a person who lights the spirit.  The growth in darkness is a blind journey of fear into faith; and although it ultimately brings us to the Light, the journey itself can be lonely and sad.  It is through these dark journeys that I have discovered the light that lives in the core of my being.  It was there as I lay with the covers pulled tight when I was only a little girl; but until I had traveled through dark days, I really didn’t notice its glow.

“This Little Light of Mine,” in my child’s mind, referred to the things I did that were kind and good.  The dark days taught me that the little light was the Love, the Hope, the Faith, the Truth that kindled the fire — the passion — for bringing that kindness and goodness to the world.  As I lay in the darkness this morning, I let myself fly to its limitless limits — a shooting star passing through at great speed with its light shining briefly wherever it passed.

In whatever dark places the new week may take us, let us honor the light that dwells in our souls.  Let us trust that although it may seem small, it will shine in the darkest places and add brightness to those that already are light.

One shining star, Mother Teresa, put it this way:

“The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.”

It is the happiness that grows from the faith, the love, the hope, and the truth that sends us out not only to do good things, but to shine!  Light up your day!

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“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.”

— George Carlin

Snow Moon - February 2010

George Carlin?  Some people see him as funny; some say he is irreverent; but his words are the ones that express the stark, lonely beauty of the Snow Moon.

Snow moon is the name given to the full moon of February.  It is the moon of deep winter, and it will appear in the night sky tonight.  If last night’s preview (above) was any indication, it should be spectacular!

As I stood shin-deep in the still-lingering snow and saw white ground as far as my eye would travel, I gazed through the branches of the barren pear tree and was pulled into the sky by the radiant glow of the moon.  ‘Snow moon,’ I thought, ‘how perfectly it is named this year.’  With all  that has fallen this winter, there have been times when it has taken a day or two to reach a point where we could back out the car and navigate the roads to the obligatory bread and milk of the winter storm.

I looked again across the snow and as the nothingness of the landscape again forced my eyes to the heavens, I thought of the other name for this moon.  “Hunger moon,” it was called, because in earlier days it illuminated a land where no animals ventured out and hunting was difficult at best.  I thought of my ancestors, new to this land, who faced winters hoping they had prepared adequately — not only to live, but to survive.  They had no bread and milk a mile away.  I tried to imagine the feelings of someone isolated by winter and working diligently to keep a fire burning for warmth.   Were they drawn outside by the bright glow of moonlight on crystal-white snow, only to see a frozen desert, devoid of life?  Were they caught between the breathtaking beauty and its reminder of their desperate isolation?  How different the longing for Spring must have been in those times!  Is it the experiences of our ancestors, engraved on our own DNA, that creates the same kind of longing in us even though we have bread and milk only a mile away?

As you gaze up tonight and see the full moon in the dark night sky, I hope you will hear it howling; and I hope that howling will call you to the beauty of moonlight on new-fallen snow.  I hope you will howl back and that the world will echo with the hunger for the promise of Spring.