I suppose you may say that I am a creature of the night. Certainly, in any 24-hour period, I experience greater peace in the night time. Night time is excellent for study, for prayer, for contemplation, for creative pursuits. Whatever the burdens of the day, they are unlikely to disturb the night. The darkness enfolds me like a blanket. Night time is my time.
I must force myself to rise and enter the daylight world—we must live in the world we have, not the world we want. Daylight is a time of violence of every description, some of it productive, some of it not. Perusing social and news media, what do we see? Crimes are reported in brutal detail. Politicians and political hopefuls, celebrities, dignitaries of note make pronouncements that are ill-conceived, misunderstood, or twisted to make someone else’s point. People post and repost terribly biased articles on social media that do not inform, but inflame, for purposes I cannot fathom. Reason has been sacrificed to ego-driven passion and rant. They claim to be concerned about the world they are helping to distress. I suspect they rarely read the articles they post, relying on misleading headlines. They will never have the peace and order they claim to desire, so long as they fan flames of discord and distrust.
I do not like the day. It is a time of industry, yes, but agitation, inane speeches, and getting one-up on your fellow beings. When I see and read what’s happening in the day, I am very uncomfortable.
Last evening, the world was given a singular opportunity to observe a celestial event—the eclipse of the Blood Moon. I found it very exciting—like millions of others on the Earth, I was witnessing a carefully choreographed, completely natural, cosmic dance, one made despite the people watching. Inconceivably vast bodies moved through the heavens, bowed and curtsied. The Moon allowed the Earth to veil her face. No matter how warlike, opinionated or contentious the people on the earth, celestial orbs had their dance.
Bow, curtsy, move on.
It was thrilling to see something that was so far outside human power and control. We could only watch and feel awe. Some look to the heavens for answers—guidance, fate, and for some, perspective. No matter how tumultuous things become here, up there, there is peace.
My neighbours and I went out onto the patio roof to watch this minuet of Earth and Moon. We took photographs (and I learnt a few things about my old Nikon that I had not known). We watched the shadow of the world slowly edge across the lunar face. We saw the white light of the moon turn red, gliding across the sky in an arc, and become white again—just in time for bed.
I stayed out the latest of all of us, and celebrated this wonderful event. I drank a little champagne, and considered that what we had seen brought things into perspective—at least for me. My celebration was silent and cerebral, but full of joy and awe. I think we were meant to feel awe, and be reminded there are things far greater than we.
There was a celebration that I valued more—one I am too old and too stuffy to join. My neighbour’s daughter, who has just entered the fifth grade, sings and dances at the drop of a hat. Last night, she sang and danced in the light of the Blood Moon. ‘It’s a red moon,’ she sang, ‘it’s a red moon, it’s a R.E.D (breath) M.O.O.N.’ and gleefully danced in the light of something as innocent and astonishing as she. Out of the mouths of babes….
I would rather celebrate than fight. I would rather find peace than argue about it. I do not want to impose myself on you, as you do on me. I would like to be like the moon and just be.
An interesting note: this morning, when I made my customarily hesitant review of social media and news websites, there were fewer outrageous and inflammatory postings. Perhaps I was not the only one to find perspective last evening.
Perhaps we all danced and put aside our mindless squabbles for the nonce.
Paul TN Chapman
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