There’s a blue moon shinin’
when I am reminded of all we’ve been through
Such a blue moon … shinin’
Does it ever shine down on you?
~ Patrick Alger, Once in a Very Blue Moon
It’s the very last evening in August…and there’s a very blue moon on the rise in the east. Some define a blue moon as the second full moon that occurs in the same month…others, that it is the third full moon in a season with four full moons. For those of you with a scientific bent…
And for the rest of us for whom blue moons are symbols of lost love and melancholy…
I’m spending this last August evening looking up at the eastern sky…at a very blue moon. What about you?
I recently read a good book by Mary C. Neal entitled To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story. Dr. Neal is an orthopedic surgeon who had a near-death experience after drowning in a kayaking accident in Chile. Throughout the book she relates how God has been involved in her life through everyday miracles…meaningful events that occur in all of our lives, but that are usually explained away as mere coincidences…miracles that have carried her through some of the darkest times of her life, including the loss of her nineteen-year-old son Willie.
In one short paragraph, she relates what I thought to be a very apt description of the grieving process…
I do not believe that a loss of the magnitude I’ve experienced in losing Willie is something a person “gets beyond”, “works through”, or any of those other well-meaning, but impossible-to-achieve platitudes. Grieving a loss is a matter of learning to incorporate the pain into a new life and a new reality. As Martha Hickman wrote in her book Healing after Loss…’There is no way out, only forward'”.
I’m finding that, indeed, one doesn’t really get over the loss of a loved one. It seems to be more a matter of slowly adapting to the new reality that becomes a little clearer…and a bit more permanent with each passing day.
“…beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”
~ Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
This morning when I took Belle out…just a hint of daybreak in the East. A foggy…wondrously cool morning. An unexpected harbinger of the coming change of seasons. The descending hoot of the Barred Owl…closer than usual…from within the still, dark woods. And hanging in the sky…softened by a halo…partially veiled by the fog…a thin crescent moon…a silver eyelid closed in slumber. Below it…Venus…a single teardrop. Above the moon…Jupiter…so far away, reflecting the sun yet to rise here on Earth below.
It’s times like this that I have the urge to cry out…Come see this!…Come see what’s going on out here!
But…I stand there in the darkness…alone…and silent. Gazing at this sign…this wonder in the heavens.
The new world waits inside your dream
and your heart knows the way…
Isn’t it nice to let it go
on to the life your soul will know…
and let the real world fade away.
~ Karla Bonoff, New World
It seems we’ve settled in to that time of year where an equilibrium of sorts has been reached. The daytime temperature reaches 90…and drops to 70 at night…plus or minus a few degrees. Most every afternoon, thunderstorms will randomly pop up…with an occasional downpour. One day is much like the rest…making it conducive to settling in to the present moment…into the now of things.
We’re told that we humans are the only living creatures with an awareness of the past…and the ability to anticipate the future. I’m not so sure of that. Birds build nests…and squirrels sock away acorns for the cold weather ahead. So…are we standing on the railway siding…watching as the train quickly flashes by…locomotive at the front…caboose at the end…disappearing into the mist forever? Or…are we on the train itself…looking out the window as the world speeds by? And when we pull into a station…and come to a stop… do we then realize that the train and the world we perceive are one and the same? That the dreamer and the dream are one?
Lately, the usual problems of life…regrets of what may, or should have happened in the past…or worries of what might happen in the future… lack the immediacy they once had. I now find myself sitting still in the sun…staring at the simple…yet stunning beauty of a geranium flower…or being entertained by a dragonfly in flight, tracing figure-eights through the air…leaving no trace in the present moment.