I woke up at 3:30 a.m., ten minutes before my alarm. I yawned and stretched full body in bed before tiptoeing into the kitchen. I flicked on the light and turned on the burner under the kettle to boil water for coffee. I filled the sink with hot water and washed the handful of dishes and wiped down the countertops. Kitchen set to rights, I took my steaming mug of coffee into the living room. I wrapped blankets around my curled up legs and cuddled on the couch. I sank into my favorite morning ritual of a bit of praying, meditating, and reading from two online meditation/devotional sources. I sipped coffee and checked the time.
I put my bag and camera bag by the front door. I dashed into the bedroom to change into cozy and comfy (and warm) clothes for moon gazing: black thick leggings, warm socks, a long-sleeved grey t-shirt, a grey sweatshirt, and my favorite oversized grey cable knit sweater. I pulled my red fleece jacket off the hanger in the closet and reached for a black beanie hat and two pairs of cheap, thin black gloves. I tugged on my rather battered and old sheepskin Ugg boots (supposedly they’re back in style thanks to Rihanna! ha!) and flipped off the lights. Back in the kitchen, I poured the remaining coffee into my insulated spillproof mug and grabbed my phone, keys, and the bags by the door.
I did not have a plan, I just had an appointment with the moon. The day before I had texted a friend, letting him know about the observing party at the natural history museum. I had planned on going there, but on this quiet morning, I knew I wanted silence and solitude, me and the moon. I stood in the apartment parking lot for a minute and looked up at the full moon. I quickly jumped in the car and turned west into the desert outskirts of Albuquerque, not far from where I live. The moon beckoned and I followed, driving not much more than three miles. I found a dark road with no streetlights, near a construction site. I pulled into a spot on the edge of a turnaround, giving space to the other car with two eclipse watchers inside.
I turned off the car and lights and twisted around in my seat, getting settled in so I wouldn’t miss any of the eclipse. I placed the camera in the passenger seat and the coffee mug in the cup holder. I dragged my couch blankets from the back seat and tucked myself in, pulling on the hat and gloves. Nestled into my cozy pod, I realized that I probably wasn’t going to make any great pictures of the eclipse and that I would rather just watch. I took a few deep breaths as the moon entered the earth’s shadow, the umbra.
We seem to be having an eclipse fever, running on the strength and excitement from August’s full solar eclipse and I am only too happy to partake. Anytime, when we stop and take a breath and watch part of nature and observe our natural rhythms is good to me. I almost always make time for the moon, regularly taking note of the cycle and its nightly and daily points in the sky with frequent observation.
I sat there in the cold and quiet of early morning. The moon moved into the full shadow of the earth and it turned the “blood red” that makes it both eerie and beautiful. I sipped coffee and marveled at the phenomenon. It felt good just to sit, to watch, to cloak myself in silence, to enjoy, to see the somewhat rare super blue moon blood moon.
At a certain point, the moon became difficult to see, mostly because of the low point in the horizon, but also because of the pink streaks in the sky coming from the sun beginning to poke its way up over the mountains in the east. I decided to find higher ground further west. Just as I was about to start my car, my lunar eclipse neighbors peeled out of their parking spot, startling me. I drove slowly, trying to figure out where to go, and then I just relaxed into following the moon. I ended up finding another spot, not far from the road, that was out of the way of morning traffic and still with a great view of the moon, just a mile from my previous spot.
Again, I tucked into my observation pod in the car, but very quickly got twitchy. I grabbed my keys and phone and got out and walked closer to the horizon. I snapped a couple of pictures with my phone and then just settled into the morning and the moment.
The moon kept moving, leaving its eclipse stage, the blood red fading as the sun began its ascension in the opposite sky.
I turned around and watched the sun rise, grateful for the morning.
It’s extraordinary to see the lunar eclipse and to stop for something like a sunrise. I can remember a time in college and into my mid-twenties, where I made a point to watch the sunrise and sunset every day that that they were visible. What made me lose that time? What made me ignore that beautiful daily ritual?
I took a few deep breaths and set my intentions to return to those moments, those daily rhythms of the sun and moon. I got back in the car and drove slowly home. What a wonderful morning! Those small moments, the ritual, it only takes a little bit to reset, recalibrate, and to bask in the blood moon eclipse.