I was in the desert, and thankfully so, because other places had cloud cover and could not see the moon at all. I'm so grateful that, where I was, it was full-on right in front of you, with almost nothing else in the sky.
As I walked a dirt road, throughout the event, making my way further into open desert, the moon reached its full blood moon state... and that's when I had many thoughts, I want to share.
I was reminded of a time in my own life, long ago... and that made me think of, ancient people too.
Early in my walk, while the moon was maxing out the bloodmoon state, I was transported back in my memory, to a powerful story from my past. The year was 1998, and I was traveling, when I hitch-hiked my way across a barren stretch, deep in the Kalahari Desert of Africa.
The memory flash took me to a moment, when I was riding inside the cab of a big semi-truck... myself, the African driver, and two young Africans traveling like me - one male, one female. The three of us passengers had all hitched this ride, because the only way TO cross this portion of desert was to wait until there was a semi-truck making the trip that would cross miles and miles of dusty washboarded road with almost nothing out there.
Seems to me, I waited at least a full day, on the side of this lonely dry dusty road, until the truck we all boarded, came along. The other two riders and I had all waited there, all day. Sitting in the hot sun, on the edge of town, in the middle of nowhere... until finally this man came along. And when he did, we all jumped aboard. It was the way the locals crossed this desert, and so, it was "customary" if you will. Once we joined the driver, we were all in for a two-to-three-day journey together, as we passed this wide-open stretch of no-man's land.
So, we had a lot of time to talk, and visit while we rode along... and needless to say, I personally was a bit of an anomaly being foreign, young, white, female, traveling alone, American. ALL of that was REALLY novel for them... in fact, as I write this, I reckon they STILL remember me, and have told stories for all these years, that's how "fish out of water" it was for ME to be THERE!
So, anyway... as we rode along, there came up in our conversation a discussion about the MOON. And in that moment, I suddenly wished SO BADLY that I had paid a LOT better attention, in school!!! Seriously. Because what happened next was... as we were all three cramped into the passenger side of this big semi-truck cab, me leaning against the door, twisted sort of sideways so I could look at them all and make eye contact -- oh, and of course, to talk with my hands! I proceeded to try, to explain... how it all works... this sun, moon, earth, connection thing! ME?!! Exactly... I was very much mentally scratching my head with an inner "oh goodness, how DOES this all work again?!!" thought, as I saw in that moment... Yes. Me. I was THE one who was here to explain this. (In a moment like this back home, there would surely be someone smarter than ME, who could explain this!)
It all happened because I had made some really simple mention about the MOON, as we talked. That, when met with faces of wonder, I tried to continue like... "you know, how the moon circulates, and the earth rotates, and then the sun..." and they only continued to look at me with complete wonder, as though I was from Mars! They DIDN'T know. They did NOT know... "you know..." NO. "Oh my God..." I thought to myself. What?! You don't know... as I sped threw my mind to find some sense of accurate data... saying to myself, "oh goodness, OK, how DOES it work, I gotta get this right so I can share this... because it looks like I AM the teacher, I am THE one who's going to teach this to these people, and who knows... THIS will be etched in stone, as they pass it around their people, and share THIS with others... I gotta get this right! HOW does the sun, moon and earth relate, and why IS it that the moon is sometimes full, sometimes gone, and so much more??!" They literally did not know ANY of that!! Really? I remember I was shocked, but there was no time to reveal my shock, I had to just scurry about, and try to explain as best I could... because I clearly had a captive audience sitting, waiting... peering at ME, to teach them... what they had never ever before been told -- that there is a REASON it all works as it does, that we humans have figured it out... These folks had NO IDEA. They did not know we had real information that told us about why or how these events worked.
So there I was... trying to be the one who actually could explain... the earth... the moon... the sun... to my newly found friends, driving across a barren desert in the middle of Africa... some gazillions of years ago! The world was SO different back then. The internet has so dramatically changed our world... I think we might have had email in those days, but there were no cell phones, no computers everywhere you go, no google, youtube, etc! Laptops were not even common, at ALL anywhere.
So, when you were out in the bush... or out in a foreign country, the only way they knew anything about the outside world -- where I had come from -- was if they possibly might have seen a TV. And in the bush of Africa, need I say, that was very uncommon.
So. Wow. My journey with the lunar eclipse last night, right here in September 2015, took me all the way back to THIS OLD memory... to my very own experience of a world NOT connected. AND, a world not necessarily informed... as to "how it all works" up there in the night sky.
I continued to walk, and stop and watch the moon fully eclipsed, as I was FEELING the lunar eclipse, turn into the bloodmoon...
After reflecting back on that beautiful trek across the Kalahari Desert years ago -- one of the most magical times of my life -- as I continued walking, watching, and feeling this lunar eclipse turn into bloodmoon last night... I had some really interesting reflections on how it might have been, in ancient times... when the people did not know.
You see, flashing back on my memory of that African journey, and the really sincere lack of knowledge about the moon, sun, earth relationship -- that very memory was perfect, on this very night.
Because, I could see, with all of THAT coming back to me, I could see SO CLEARLY just how hard it might be, to NOT KNOW. To be out in the bush, and experience something like a lunar eclipse that turns the moon red -- when -- you do not know it is coming -- and -- you do not know HOW or WHY any of it is happening -- not knowing ANY of the "science" behind it all.
These beautiful young people riding across the desert with me a zillion years ago, showed me that there are probably a LOT of people who do not know, what we are taught in school. They do not know -- at all -- how science and nature and things we're told by NASA, all work!
They are just people, living on the land, being of the earth, and the "science" of nature, is all a mystery.
And this all leads to... what I felt and experienced in that crazy blood moon, last night.
As the moon was red and there was NO light, last night -- I could FEEL how much this could REALLY scare people who did not know. I felt like I could totally relate to how, the whole mystery of it all, would really be scary for the ancient people... when they did not know any of what our science tells us today.
What IF you were out in the desert and suddenly, with no warning, the full moon just started to go dark, and turn red?! Wow. I could feel that, when I stood there watching this moon. The power, the FEAR that got ingrained into our very own DNA for how many times this occurred throughout history... and for how VERY scary it must have been, to NOT know. To NOT know what on earth was happening... and wonder, would the moon -- would the LIGHT -- ever come back?? They had no books to tell them how it all worked! They did not have anything to inform them. Except for, stories. Story that was passed down, through a chain of spoken word, passed from person to person, one generation to the next. They had only what was possibly witnessed, and then told, to the next ones coming. Most likely, they would have been literally, in the dark. Blinded, by a moon going dark. And worse, then going RED. Scary, for sure. I imagine it would have been, very scary and very much, would provoke a LOT of fear in the people. Because when that moon was dark, when it was RED, it WAS scary. If I did not *know* it was going to come right back, I would have been really freaked out!
And that... would be told... to the people coming next. "There will be a time... when the moon will go red... be warned!! " SO full of fear and darkness... can you see that? Because they did not know. They did not KNOW how ANY of it worked. The science of it. They didn't have trajectories that tell them exactly when and where something will occur -- as we have, now.
It occurred to me, as I watched this event last night... that much like my African friends who did not know ANYTHING about why the moon was sometimes full, sometimes gone, the sun sometimes long in the sky and other times not... Just as those people I traveled with had no idea of these concepts... our own ancient ones, our ancestors, the old times... they would have had NO IDEA what was going on... NO KNOWLEDGE of how or why these events were happening, or when or how long they would go, or STOP. Can you imagine?!! Scary! They only knew the shear fear that must have been struck... when the moon went dark, and worse... when it turned, red.
And so it goes. We have evolved. We have learned. We have the amazing human beings at NASA and all sorts of other entities, inventors and people throughout history, who have figured this stuff out! So that now... we need not be afraid. We have science telling us when an eclipse WILL BE over... or, that it WILL be happening, at all. In ancient times, they did not.
To me, it was palpable, the return of the light, last night.
I could feel it. Very distinctly. When the moon was red, there was a strange silence in the air. It was the strangest feeling. Hard to really pin point. But it was, that there was something very significant, missing. Yeah! The moon. She was gone for a bit. But then... she came back! During that red moon portion, the silence I felt... it was a weird kind of quiet. A stillness. It was like... ah! It was the sound of light missing. THAT is it. The sound of light, was missing. I couldn't get my finger on it last night, but this is IT. There was this weird silence that wasn't really silent... but it was that there was something missing. And that something, was the moon. Her whole essence, was blocked. She was absent, there was a vacancy of her presence.
And then... by the Grace of God... as it feels... She came back.
The tiniest glimmer of light, it was like it brought the whole earth back with it. And then... even my camera could not help but be flooded by just the tiniest bit of light. It was profound. The light FLOODED and there was nowhere that there was NOT light. No more darkness. No more, darkened moon. No more absence of her essence... She was Back! And that... was beautiful!
When the moon was red, I felt it... I was so aware of the ancient times and the fear of ALL of this, WHEN one does not know. And... when the light returned... it was SO BRIGHT. It was the most glorious... most beautiful... most genuine light, there ever was!
What a night!
I never ever really realized... all these lunar eclipses we've had... all these blood moons... I think this was the first time it was early enough in the night and I was in a good spot for it, that I actually spent the whole time outside, and just walked... and really took it in all the way. Walked the desert, sat on the ground... took it in... as the moon did her dance... as she hid, and became new, once again!
In the end... I am SO GRATEFUL for the LIGHT.
Because when it was gone... it was NOT right. The moon is our light in the night... just as the sun is our light, in the day. And I am EVER so grateful, for BOTH... as they keep light alive, day and night!
Bloodmoon... I can live without... Supermoon... I can live WITH!
I hope you managed to see part of it... really truly, so gorgeous!