Sunday January 20th, 2019
My cell phone rings, Mom is calling. There’s an eclipse tonight. It will be early enough for the kids to enjoy and she doesn’t want them to miss out. I do a little investigating. Not only is it a lunar eclipse, it will be a ‘wolf moon’ or Supermoon! I find out from The Old Farmer’s Almanac the name ‘wolf moon’ comes from the early Native Americans. Certain tribes called the January moon by this name due to the habit of wolves to be more vocal during this winter month.
I peek outside and note the cloud cover, not abnormal for Western Washington. Perhaps it will burn off in time but I won’t hold my breath. This rare Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse, as The Almanac calls it, might hide itself from us.
According to NASA, a Supermoon is a full moon that looks bigger than other full moons. This moon is “at its closest point to Earth in its orbit, called perigree” [see article].
At 8pm the Supermoon is glorious in a clear, cold night sky. I can see the Sun, Moon and Earth have already begun to align. A red smudge has painted itself over the bottom of the yellow orb hanging above my head.
The toddler is asleep, has been for a while. His afternoon naptime being missed. Both the boys were so busy all day like only they can be. Emma, however, is so excited to don her coat, hat and boots and venture into the darkness. The RV park is unnaturally bright. I note halogen lights ringing the perimeter. One of them lights our parked 5th Wheel.
Childhood memories are flooding back. My parents are leading us outside, walking past the house and up our long, gravel driveway to the road above. There, cresting the far hill, the most amazing visual I have ever seen in a night sky! It was so bright, even in its eclipsed state, even with the Milky Way attempting to outshine it. This was my first lunar eclipse and it was not even a wolf moon, wow!
Now, tonight, I see this moon’s beauty but also feel it’s not quite what I remember. Why does it seem small and dim compared to my memories. I move down under the trees and emerge by the lake shore. Finally! Free from the glare of manmade illumination I realize the sky has opened up and it makes all the difference. The red sphere hangs suspended before our gaze. Emma remarks appropriately, “It looks like a Christmas ornament!”
Experience for a Lifetime
Reflecting on this beautiful, heavenly experience, I note it has been both educational and emotional. It has taken me back to my childhood and enhanced my own daughter’s life. I see God’s splendor through the Super Wolf Moon, eclipsed by the Earth for a fraction of a moment when compared to a lifetime.
“The heavens proclaim his righteousness; every nation sees his glory.” Psalms 97:6 (NLT) This event is a sign, a magnificent reminder of a greater plan than my own. Perhaps it signals an amazing year of experiences in store for us. A year of exploration, happy meetings, and intentionality. I’m excited to see what’s waiting for us in this New Year!
Watch our home video time-laps of the eclipse on YouTube at Diary of a Family.