Thursday, October 9, 2014
BLOOD MOON ECLIPSE over SUGAR CREEK
Yesterday morning we saw a gorgeous lunar eclipse.
The kiddos and I awoke before 5am on Wednesday morning and headed down the road to an opening in the trees that lets us see two different ridge lines from one hilltop. We pulled over and there she was... the beautiful, shaded moon.... and the pre-dawn sky was so dark that the stars were shining down on us like spotlights from the heavens.
Sugar Creek, Louisiana is unlike the rest of the state. I was raised about an hour's drive away, in small-town Sarepta, and until I found this house in the woods I had no idea that there was a tiny region of my state that seems more mountain foothill than swampy bayou or pine-scented, flat-floored forest. And it was here, in the rolling hills of a region of our state that is practically unknown to the rest of the world, that my kids and I found ourselves sitting on a hilltop nestled between two ridge lines and grinning beneath the blood moon eclipse of 2014.
It's magical to see the shadow of our planet being cast upon our moon. Every time I have the privilege of seeing an eclipse I always feel like it's a blessing, and yesterday morning I had the distinct feeling that we were seeing something EXTRA special.
Miles turned to me mid-eclipse and asked what ancient people would have thought about when they happened upon an eclipse. Then he mentioned that he thought the Natives here had probably wondered if such a thing was a sign from God.
I grinned and gave my twelve-year old the surprise of his life by talking about the ancient Mayans and calendars so precise that make ours today look out-of-date. We spoke of Poverty Point, and of Serpent Mound, and the mathematically and astronomically genius civilization (the Mississippian Culture) that walked these very lands long ago. We talked about ancient Egypt (one of our favorite subjects) and other societies that loved the sky and had a thorough understanding of eclipses long before our european ancestors made their "discoveries." And it made me think....
Many people today are taught lessons in school, such as lunar cycles and other wonders of astronomy, and never really take the time to truly understand the material that they're studying. I've heard so many people talk of the blood eclipse as a sign that God is about to destroy mankind and usher in an apocalypse. Why do we STILL, after thousands and thousands of years, assume that such an act of nature is a WARNING? Maybe God just wants us to see the shadow of our planet every once in a while so that we may put our own existence into perspective.
The boys and I try to learn lessons from everything we go through in this life. And this morning I'm thinking about the shadows that have darkened my world and blocked me from the light of happier times. I've been through divorce. I've lost people that I loved to sudden, unexpected death. I've been cheated on, beaten, taken advantage of, and along the way I've made the conscious decision to LEARN from the experiences and grow as a person--and to never allow the personal eclipses that darken my little world to make me unable to see the sun when it appears again. You see, I believe that we learn our biggest lessons and grow our spirits the most during hard times. We don't always understand the shadowy things that happen in our lives, and if we're not careful it's easy to assume that shadows are "evil" or "eerie." But like the eclipse of the moon, a little knowledge goes a long way.
Is it not true that we learn the most valuable lessons from hard times? I am the person I have become because of the wonderful AND the terrible things that have happened to me. And I'm sure the same can be said about you.
I've noticed that most of us tend to focus on the shadows that fall across our lives and don't quite realize the true meaning behind it. If I didn't understand science, I wouldn't have been able to recognize the reasons for the eclipse yesterday morning. And if I didn't learn lessons from difficult times, I wouldn't be able to truly appreciate the good times.
Many ancient societies (and even modern ones, at that) saw eclipses as very foreboding. They believed them to be a warning that God was about to punish the earth. And though modern society hasn't fully learned to see eclipses as something profoundly beautiful, I am teaching my children to view the darkness as it sweeps across the surface of the moon and understand that we're seeing the shadow of something much bigger than us--we're seeing the shadow of our own home. And what a beautiful shadow it is.....