Bright Ball of Light

Remembering the child in our hearts pointing to the sky . . .

Do you remember as a child looking up in wonder to the luminescent ball floating in the sky? Did it take your breath away then? Does it take your breath away now?

Christopher Robin and I walked along
Under branches lit up by the moon

—”Return to Pooh Corner” (a song by Kenny Loggins)

The Swedish-American poet and triple recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, Carl Sandburg, captures the moment:

The Child’s wonder
At the old moon
Comes back nightly.
To the far silent yellow thing
Shining through the branches
Filtering on the leaves a golden sand,
Crying with her little tongue, “See the moon!”
And in her bed fading to sleep
With babblings of the moon on her little mouth.

—Carl Sandburg, “Child Moon”

And here’s a passionate prompt to pay attention by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anthony Doerr:

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.

     —Anthony Doerr, “All the Light We Cannot See”

The moonlight shines and billows; the broken clouds scud above the trees. Leaves fly everywhere. But the moonlight stays unmoved by the wind, …

—Anthony Doerr, “All the Light We Cannot See”

Wow! This particular January is unusual with two full moons that swing closest to the Earth (at perigee) and therefore appear larger than normal especially at the horizon. Because of its inflated, over-sized appearance, we call them supermoons.

The second full moon rising the last day of this January typically occurs about every 2.5 years and because of its sauntering arrival, we call it a blue moon. “Once in a blue moon!” is a cliché often denoting something that rarely happens.

But January’s second full moon on the 31st delights in a more dramatic way as it swings behind the Earth in a line-up of Sun-Earth-Moon and radiates a gorgeous red ball in the sky. That configuration is called a total lunar eclipse as the Earth blocks the moon from the light of the Sun causing the eclipsed moon to glow red. The eclipsed moon is often referred to as the blood moon because of its deep scarlet hue.

Therefore, our second full moon this month is nick-named the Super Blue Blood Moon which has the ring of something regal!

Just imagine what the ancients must have felt as they gazed through the pure unpolluted night sky to view the wild fluctuations of light and color in our vast Milky Way galaxy. Awe? Fear? Honor? Confusion?

In the innocent eyes of a child, there is an effervescent fascination with creation. Oh, to step away from the tasks of adult life and simply bask awhile with the eyes of a child in pure wonderment of the universe.

Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, and theologian shares his own captivating view:

When I consider the brief span of life, absorbed into the eternity before and after, the small space I occupy and which I see swallowed up in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I know nothing and which know nothing of me, I take fright and am amazed to see myself here rather than there: there is no reason for me to be here rather than there, now rather than then. Who put me here? By whose command and act were this time and place allotted to me? … The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me.

—Blaise Pascal, Pensées (230)

Have you ever experienced that uncanny sense of awe and trembling Blaise Pascal describes when looking up to the breathless beauty of the night sky and feeling the immensity of stars and planets and moons and novas and nebulas and galaxies extending light years away?

I often ponder the references to the moon and sun and stars found in the ancient literature of the Genesis story which depicts how God brought an orderly universe out of primordial chaos in the act of creation:

God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night; he made the stars.

—Genesis 1:16

So in this month of January, look up! There it is! A bold and beautiful bright ball in the sky. Some will call it blue. Some will call it red. Some will call it simply super.

Here’s to rediscovering the wonder! Have a ball!

Thanks for stopping by.