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Naperville
Monday, March 4, 2024

Real Life – Moonshadow

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At four o’clock on a November morning, I padded downstairs in my flannel pajamas to commune with the universe.

I made my coat selection for the forty-two degree chill: full length, black wool, with fur collar and cuffs—a wrap reserved for deepest winter, but the closest I could come to a Wiccan cloak.

It was too early for the cat to care. He slumbered on.

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Grabbing my cell phone with its specialized camera capabilities, plus a set of binoculars, I glided out into the silence, and scanned the area for a fox or coyote on the prowl.

I was alone.

The sky was clear, the stars bright. A full moon shone down, November’s first. It is the Beaver Moon, named in honor of the nocturnal semiaquatic rodent who builds its winter lodge home as the temperatures drop. There’s something fun about that connection, and as an animal lover and outdoors person, I was all in.

I would not have set my alarm, however, to see just any full moon, beautiful though they are. But this was also to be a blood moon, glowing red due to a total lunar eclipse.

My interest in natural phenomena has been chronic. My husband and I would stay up late and drive out to darker areas to lie on a blanket and watch meteor showers. On my own as a teen, I bought a pocket guide book to the solar system, and spent hours watching out my window for constellations or planets to identify.

In college, I even took an astronomy course, sacrificing many daylight hours to sit in darkened lecture halls, studying celestial objects, and mathematical concepts such as the Doppler effect.

(The nighttime treks to the observatory I recall as very cold, and by the end of long days, less than welcome.)

Decades later, I see greater purpose in looking up.

Reflecting on the cosmos; to feel wonder; to be humbled.

And thankful to be alive. ©

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Patti Koltes
Patti Koltes
Real Life © by Patti Koltes. Contact her at pkoltes@gmail.com.

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