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