Friday, January 01, 2010

Blue Moon of Endings and Beginnings

Last evening's full moon was special, for it is only once or so in twenty years that a full moon falls on the last day of the calendar year - add to that the fact that last night's luscious moon was the second moon in December, and one realizes that she is witnessing something uncommon. Throw in a partial lunar eclipse and she realizes that this last moon of the year is something truly remarkable. Last evening's eclipse was not visible in my part of the world, but the night was exotic and transcendent nevertheless.

Hafiz once wrote a poem called What Should We Do About That Moon?, and for some time it appeared that those words would form the title of this first post of 2010. We are in the midst of several days of snowfall here in the north, and for a while last evening, it appeared (alas) that there would be no moon to view. Perhaps the Lady heard our wailing - for all of five minutes the clouds rolled away, and there was the moon, radiant in the arms of a neighboring poplar tree on the last night of the calendar year. It happened at just the right moment - a few minutes longer and the four of us (Spencer, myself, tripod and Pentax) would have been frozen solid and stuck in (to) the garden until next springtime rolls around.

Around this time every year, I seem to ask myself why I devote energies to capturing Lady Moon's image with camera and tripod and a woefully inadequate net of words. There is really no short easy answer to the question, but doing it is a core part of my way of walking in this world, and it feels right to be doing it.

In its perfect annular form, the moon resembles the Buddhist symbol called an enso and is therefore symbolic of community, non-duality, enlightenment and the circle of shared existence. It is a radiant expression of the phrase "as above so below" and of the turning of the seasons in the great round of time. More than that, the moon is a potent magical reminder that I am a child of the universe, that this is my home, and I am right where I belong. Growing elderly and forgetful, I need all the reminders (cosmic, earthy and common) I can get.

Bliadhna mhath ùr means Happy New Year in Scots, and Bliain úr faoi shéan is faoi mhaise duit is the Irish form of the traditional greeting uttered at the beginning of a new year - the Welsh form is Blwyddyn newydd dda. A dear Hawaian friend who has now traveled beyond the fields we know, used to say Hau ‘oli makahiki hou. In the mother tongues of other ancestresses, one says Shana Tova (Hebrew), Nimkodading (Algonquin) or ose:rase (Mohawk).

May all good things be yours in the coming year. May your night skies be clear and starry all year long; may the sun shine upon you by day, and the moon grace you with her radiant presence each night.

6 comments:

Aisling said...

I was enthralled by the idea of a blue moon on the last evening of the year, as well. I wasn't able to capture an incredible image, as you did, but referenced the blue moon in a poem for new year's eve. I am glad I was able to visit here, and see this gorgeous photo of yours. The blue of the sky is as amazing as the glowing moon. Thank you for sharing this beauty here.

Aiyana said...

"May the longtime sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure, pure light within you, guide your way on."
~Traditional Blessing
Happy New Year!
Aiyana

Kentishmaid said...

Your photo of the moon is simply breathtaking. I tried in my own amateur way to do the same, record the night of Old Year. Here in the UK there was high cloud in the sky, causing a stippled effect at midnight, but nonetheless I welcomed in this New Year gazing into the frosty sky from the deck of my boat. The first morning
of this New Year dawned clear and I was able to witness moonset in the west at the same time as sunrise in the east. May this year bring you rich blessings.

looking for beauty said...

Your breath-taking words and pnotos - these are soothing things for the soul. Thank you so much for the beauty that you bring to this post and share with us.
Happy New Year to you.
May you find happiness and health, beauty and love in your friends and family.
K

Sally said...

Please don't stop taking these poignant photos of our moon (for those of us who can't truly enjoy them!) I'm glad you were able to get a good look at Selene that night, and your thoughtful words, as always, enhance the shared experience.

nancybond said...

Happy 2010, Cate -- your moon photos are always extraordinary.