Moon high above an office building

Moon Over Home

Trying to find normality while in the midst of this covid-life feels like a fruitless task most of the time. The brain alternates between getting on the hamster wheel of spinning thought going nowhere, or completely disconnecting. Spacing out staring at the wall. There is also a third possibility. Napping for no apparent reason.

I managed to do all three this afternoon. After a flurry of activity earlier in the day, I wound up on the couch staring at the opposite wall, half aware of a painting from my friend Lorna on my wall, half disconnected. Then slowly falling into a nap. I woke, mind already churning and turned again to the news outlets flipping endlessly through articles, unable to truly occupy my mind.

I miss being able to lose myself in a book like I have so many times in the past. It is an ability that seems to come and go now for no particular reason I can discern. At the moment it’s gone. So my restless mental hamster was on the wheel running trying to find a place to rest. Finally after an hour or so it occurred to me I should use one of my coping mechanisms – stepping outside.

Up off the couch and out onto the balcony. Pleasant, late evening warm spring air greeted me. I took in the comforting slanting rays of sun illuminating the building across the way. Soaking in the embrace of comfort and calm, I glanced up. A waxing gibbous moon, just past halfway way to full stared down at me from a slice of sky above.

It sparked something inside.

I used to love astronomy in another life. That life I had before my childhood trauma came to haunt me. For just a moment the joy of seeing a bit of the cosmos from my own private vantage point on the universe came back. It filled my emptiness inside and helped me find my feet below me, the sky above. Memories of laying on a picnic table stargazing through binoculars as a child filled me. Again the wonder of the cosmos presented itself.

I remembered my camera, my desire to take back photography, and excitement rose at the thought of actually being able to capture a few pictures of something steady, solid and eternal.

Long shot of the moon over an urban office building in the evening.

A few wide hand held snaps, then some close up ones. The tripod came out when my hand wasn’t quite steady enough for such a small object with a long lens. Then more precious moments spent just taking in the eerie, but pleasant quiet of a world still not quite awake from covid reclusion.

And now? Contentment flowing from doing something creative. Remembering how much I loved astronomy and space as a small child, trips to the planetarium, gazing at the stars, reading about space, watching the first shuttle launch and land. The sweetness of those childhood memories, and also the bittersweetness of knowing darkness was underneath all of those memories, hidden even from me.

Reconnected to the world I am feeling again, and that makes me feel alive.

Closeup of the waxing gibbous moon in the evening sky

Interesting Astronomy links – Great for checking on the current phase of the moon.

ClearDarkSky – An astronomer’s forecast for locations in North America, there could be one near you. I’d like to visit here sometime Casitas de Gila Observatory

WorldWide Telescope – an interactive walk through the skies right from your browser.

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