There was a note scribbled in pencil posted on the bulletin board outside the dining room. When you are on silent retreat, these notes are a way of communicating--finding someone to share a ride to the airport, a poem mentioned in spiritual direction left for you to ponder. The note shared that there was to be a pretty spectacular moonrise last night--at 9:10 pm.
I have entered what I sometimes call my "Benjamin Franklin" years--early to bed, early to rise--but I knew that I wanted to see the moon rise. Around 8:30 I wandered downstairs and took a place at one of the windows in the dining hall. Those wonderful windows that face the sea and teach me each day about the incredible gifts of God's creation--a sea that changes color every day, seals sunning on the rocks in Brace's cove, tides that are ever on the move. Last night the sun had set and the night was dark.
I thought about the darkness that lies between the sun setting and the moon rising. The void. And then, if you are blessed with a cloudless night, you start to notice the stars. Not bright enough to light the darkness but bright enough that you know you are not alone on this journey.
8:45. 8:56. I found I was almost holding my breath waiting for the moon. Others had slipped into the darkened dining room and together we watched and waited.
9:00. 9:10. No moon rise. Then a whispered voice--"Come in to the small dining room. It's happening." We all moved into the small dining room and there it was. This big big big orange moon lifting itself out of the sea. The retreat may be silent but I could not help but say, "Wow!"
Someone slipped back to the dining room and brought a pair of binoculars that he passed around. I took my turn and could see the shadows on the moon. Oh my. I see the moon and the moon sees me.
The beauty was beyond all imagining.
Tom told me to take a picture so I went outside into the cold and tried. The photograph (at least one from an iPhone) could in no way capture the glory of the moon. Strangely enough though there is a little blue orb in the bottom of my photograph. I haven't a clue what that is.
Later I searched on line to try to find a photograph that would better reflect what the moon really looked like, the moon that made me gasp, "Wow!" Here's what I found. This is pretty close to that big orange moon that came and shattered the darkness with beauty and delight last night. This is almost exactly what I saw when I looked through those binoculars. Not a telescope. Binoculars. That's how close I was to the moon last night.
Thank you. Thank you.