But the whole reason for being out there is because the moon is in the act of being eclipsed even as I sit here and write. I couldn't take the cold too much longer, so I came in for a break before returning in a bit.
This morning in our Sunday Bible class, the theme was how the Creation is a witness to faith in God, looking at Hebrews 11 : By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.
In the context of discussion, a class member mentioned that the eclipse would happen tonight, and I'm so glad he did, because though I had seen something about it earlier, I had forgotten.
Sitting out there just now, besides noticing the moon, and noticing that it was very cold (the thermometer says 26 degrees), I couldn't help noticing how clear the air was and how brightly the stars shone, something I haven't seen in a long time. It was beautiful. I wanted so much to be able to stay there, but I couldn't.
…..Well, I left and I'm back. And while I was out there, I had the idea of bringing my grandmother's rocking chair out to the deck. It couldn't hurt the chair, and it would let me lean back enough to see the moon and to have support for my neck. So I came back in and got the chair and watched the rest of the veiling of the moon more comfortably.
And the whole little experience brought to mind evenings at Grandmother's house when we would have finished washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen, maybe preparing something for the next day's deliciousness, maybe watching the news or something worthwhile on TV. And at some point Grandmother would say, "Let's go sit outside for a while."
And we would do that. Take a couple of folding chairs (or more than a couple if there were more people) out the back door to simply sit outside on the driveway, with the backyard before us and the whole sky above us. It was always warmer weather, so we might hear a symphony of cicadas or see lightning bugs blinking in the yard around us. With or without those, there was always the wonderful smell of being outside and the vast sky above and whatever stars we could see.
I don't have specific memories of conversations during those times. It wouldn't surprise me if we may have sung once or twice. "Can you count the stars of evening that are shining in the sky?" I really don't recall what we talked about, or even that talking was much a part of it. I was not generally a big talker if someone else didn't start it off, and what I do remember is sitting there quietly at the end of a day, feeling such a sense of togetherness as we absorbed the beauty of the night.
Oh, and I do remember something specific. Grandmother bought a moonflower vine and planted it right out there by the back door so that she could look at it in the evenings. And smell its wonderful scent. I do remember talking about that and going over to admire it.
The moon, the stars, the rocking chair, the sun and earth all part of a beautiful moment tied to other beautiful moments. What a gift to have minds and hearts capable of perceiving, remembering, connecting, feeling, loving. Tonight is a full moon, and a full heart.
And I think of St. Francis, from class earlier today.
All Praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens you have made them,
bright, and precious, and fair.