Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Moon Viewing

Tonight the moon is 51% of full.

The past seven days I've watched a crescent, waxing, slung low in the western sky. Seen its cratered surface grow each night through my binoculars, on my 2nd story balcony, in the cold. I won't pretend to understand all the numbers on my small pair of binocs., but I do know that the 9x25 means that the moon, instead of appearing to be 238,857 miles away, appears a mere 26,539 miles away.

Pondering the notion of insignificance. It's good to get perspective on this when the irritations of daily living mount, growing to the elevation of Mt. Rainier: 14,411 feet, which I'm able to see when the omnipresent cloud cover dissipates.

When I view images like this cat's-eye nebula, on the Hubble site --

I wonder whether what I'm seeing is a jellyfish illuminated in moonlight or indeed an interstellar dust cloud. Does it matter? Probably not. Nature replicates itself over and over again.

Tonight while prepping dinner, I observed a cabbage-in-miniature when I sliced each Brussel's sprout in half. There seems to be nothing new under the sun -- except our ability to wonder, which waxes and wanes more often than la lune. When my focus becomes narrowed and claustrophobic, I benefit from nebula-viewing, and from standing outside late-winter with my binoculars, trying to fathom distances and the speed of light. My brain can't seem to take in that the light from a star has traveled so far and for so long that all I'm seeing is, essentially, a memory of light.

Ready -- more than ready -- to relegate the current winter to memory. There remain -- give or take a few -- 1,641,600 seconds until the advent of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

And then closer to the surface of things, there's my 16+ years cat at his end, rendered weak from seizures and attended to by my son who, years ago, suffered his own idiosyncratic cranial electrical storms. Moon-viewing may offer slim consolation, tonight, as we prepare to usher this old boy to his next state of consciousness. Won't help, I think, while I'm rummaging for a length of cloth in which to wrap him before he is layed-out, two feet down, into the garden.

At once -- a single particle of soil, and all of the heavens stretched away as far as the imagination dares.

Joy and woe are woven fine
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
--from Auguries of Innocence, William Blake


  1. I have sighed long and happy at this post. Ihonestly feel connected to you, here, on so many levels that I can't even begin to articulate them.

    Rest well.

  2. Elizabeth, I am grateful for this connection, which travels both ways, north to south & south to north.


  3. I am new here. This will be one of the weirdest comments I have left but...

    I love your blog header so much it makes me want to cry. I love crows. Your header is exquisite.

  4. Birdie, I'm glad you stopped by.

    And there is nothing weird about your comment -- I am often (too often, perhaps) rendered teary at the most unexpected things.

    I love crows too.