Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Red Moon Rising

Last Friday night I was with a group of women at the New Jersey shore-- it was a healing retreat. We had spent the evening praying, sharing, listening to scripture and getting to know and trust one another. One by one the women drifted off to bed, until one other woman and I remained. She was sitting on the floor with her guitar, absorbed in learning a song. I stepped out onto the balcony to make a phone call.

The balcony of the retreat house overlooks the beach and the ocean, facing southeast. As I talked on the phone-- yes, everything was fine at home, all was well-- I saw a red glow growing on the horizon.

I hung up the phone and watched the glow. First I thought it might be the casinos of Atlantic City-- the coast curves in and out; perhaps the lights of the city might appear to be out over the water...? As the glow intensified and an object appeared, I realized that, no, this really was the middle of the ocean I was facing. I thought-- a ship?

I called my friend at the guitar. "S, I want to show you something." She joined me on the deck. "Is it a ship?" we wondered together. Then, I thought absurdly, Is it a nuclear explosion? A nuclear submarine that has imploded through some terrible accident or even attack? It was the color of lava. I said aloud, "Should we call the coast guard?"

Then at the same moment we saw. The object had risen sufficiently for us to make out the face-- the "man"-- in what was clearly the moon. An enormous, not quite full, cherry-red moon. Simultaneously we gasped. It was astonishing. We looked at one another.

"Who's up?" We had last seen N and D, so we went to their rooms to "knock them up" as the Brits would say. The four of us stood on the porch watching in awed silence as the moon rose higher and higher in the sky, changing from lava-cherry red to orange, and then to gold, and finally, to clear, glowing white.

For the first time in my life I understood why the ancients worshiped and venerated this night light. The utter mystery of its appearance and the way it changed before our eyes seemed to speak of an intelligence, a wisdom far beyond our limited understanding ("Should we call the coast guard?").

I wish I could share it with absolutely everyone.

Photo courtesy of Flickr and Devan.


Amy said...

Isn't it interesting that even while at the conjested Jersey shore, you can see something so beautiful? That image of the moon is one of the many things that keep us going when things get difficult.

Iris said...

I have never seen anything like that. What an amazing experience!

steve said...

Wow. It sounds like it must've been incredible. Thank you for the post!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Oh my. That sounds like a beautiful experience. I have never seen a cherry red moon. Lucky you and your friends.