From the Sanctuary:
Sitting in the lanai at sunset, pen in hand, enjoying the stillness and quiet of the evening with the relaxing colors of the horizon as a backdrop.
The afternoon’s eclipse hype has passed. I enjoyed a fun day with friends picnicking on the grounds of a nearby college campus with thousands of other people under the playful sun, sharing the purpose of witnessing one of nature’s miracles. The crowd is much bigger than anticipated, so the free supply of cardboard viewing glasses gets dispersed long before we arrive. No worries, we are prepared with our geeky empty cereal boxes, manipulated per Youtube instructions with scissors and duct tape. We have no idea how to use these. Thankfully, everyone is friendly here, sharing glasses, telescopes, boxes, texted photos from other vantage points around the U.S. and conversation. There is joy in the air.
As the moon works its way in front of the sun, it creates a crescent shape that reminds me of a smile. I imagine that the Universe, glancing down upon these thousands of people staring up, is thinking in a content, happy sort of way, “At last, I have their attention.” Even more so when at peek time a collective cheer erupts in celebration. The humans are pleased as well. It is like a ritual.
At one point my friends head to the telescope line and I stay back on the blanket to babysit our belongings. I smile as I people watch with pleasure, and contemplate. Yes, the Universe has their attention now, yet the miracles that nature provides should not be limited to occasions that occur every few years. They happen every second of every hour of every day. The birth of babies, a minute seed pushing through and sprouting from its smothering soil, a shooting star, a spider spinning a designer web. One walk on any path or under a starry sky is all it takes to encounter one if we choose to take the time. My friends return and I take my turn at the telescopes, marveling at the close up view of the sunspots. Shortly thereafter, when the crowd disperses, my co-spectators and I make a stop to raise a glass to the day, friends and nature.
I return home to a quiet empty house and the peace of my lanai, and as always, a desire to write about it. There is a disturbance in the tall branches above me as a large bird lands. A majestic red tail hawk comes to visit. He jumps to a nearby dead pine tree and then to a live one. When I lean forward more closely to admire his amazing stature, I frighten him, and he swoops away into the dusk. A few moments later Mama deer brings her baby out to feed. I love that she trusts enough now to allow me a close look and to speak softly to her. I thank her for the family visit and she looks up at me as always, in caution before continuing to feast on the grass. The sun is below the horizon now, leaving behind the deep darkening blue that brings out the bats and allows the stars to present themselves one by one. Baby deer feeds from Mama and their silhouette against that blue has me put down my pen for a bit just to inhale and savor the scene.
Ah yes, the Universe is full of magical moments, and I’m grateful that my today, as always, was so gifted with them.