When I raise my eyes to the sky, I see earthly things as well. —Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer, 1588
We find ourselves, at times, staring up at the sky, our mouths agape in wonder.
It happened this past summer, when the partial solar eclipse (total, in parts of the country) had us all creating safe means of gazing upon the shadow-obscured sun, held in rapture if only for a moment or two. It happens in late summer when the Perseid Meteor Showers spews shooting stars across the night sky, and we find ourselves lying supine on blankets, our eyes and hearts focused upward.
It happens when we travel north and witness the eerie Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, the greens and reds shimmering above the horizon, the cathedrals of light falling about us.
It happened in late January and again in March, when each month’s second full moon — a “blue moon,” if you will — ascended, a glowing orb distributing its radiance through bare branches and lighting the landscape so brilliantly that neither fox nor mouse found a hiding place. January’s super blue moon, with the moon at its closest point to the earth in its orbit just the day before, provided a breathtaking display.
That super blue moon was not enough of an event for Mother Nature, though. As Earth, sun, and moon fell into line, those who live in the Western US viewed a total lunar eclipse. Even in the East, some observed the reddish tinge as Earth pulled her shade across the face of the moon.
These events alone should leave us slack-jawed.
The skies opened over and again as March whirled into April, wind swirled snow across lawns, downed trees, and cracked branches — and pushed many of us back into an era of no electricity and running water; we were reminded that spring is only a man-made date on the calendar.
In a world where technology rules and science has revealed so many secrets, that we can still be awed by these moments over which we have no control speaks to our human souls.
We are confounded and humbled by nature. We look upward and realize with every movement of the Earth how very small we are in this vast universe; but that we are not insignificant. It takes the strength of Atlas, morally and physically, to honor our planet; it is in these momentary bursts of unearthly beauty that we ponder that responsibility.
This week’s special supplement to The Newtown Bee, Home & Garden, celebrates that responsibility, paying homage to soil and surroundings. We hope you will find it as enjoyable to read as it is to produce.
The sun will rise, the moon will glow; rain, snow, thunder, and lightning will surround us. We can be more than spectators to the world’s awesome performances. What we give back makes it that much more stupendous.
We raise our eyes to the sky and see the earthly things: and they are ourselves, reflected in that glory.