To New Moons of 2014

Today I did what I do every morning to rouse myself from the cobwebs of sleep — grab my phone and flip through my Facebook newsfeed, hoping to discover a friend’s delight, an intriguing article, or a phenomenal music video. On this dark morning of lashing rains, it was the voice of Carl Sagan that wished me good morning:

“The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena … Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”

I reposted to my feed and then dropped my phone and cuddled between my two dogs — Loki and Willoby. I was paralyzed with an extreme sense of sadness. If we are but a pale blue dot on a sunbeam, then whatever meaning does our life hold? Does our joyous laughter matter, if there is pain in the apartment above us? Do our soulful tears matter, if there is no one there to dry them? Does our creative spirit matter, if there is one who never learned to read? Does our civic participation matter, if there is a dictator denying the rights of another?

I dragged myself from bed, crept into the next room, and sat on the floor before numerous boxes of old photographs. I wouldn’t call it a panicked or frenzied search, but there was an element of desperation as I opened box after box of semi-sorted photos, tossing aside image after image. No, it definitely wasn’t my typical, enjoyable amble alongside my old selves. If I knew anything at that moment, I knew what I was not looking for …

It wasn’t my electrifying sparklers on the Bicentennial. It wasn’t my Dorian Gray of unabashed naïveté. It wasn’t my old lovers, gone the way of scratched records. It wasn’t my beloved and deceased Oskar and Finnegan, dressed up for a Mardi Paws Parade as a sailor and hula dancer. It wasn’t my grandmother and grandfather, both dead from smoking-related illnesses. It wasn’t the countless photos of me lighting a cigarette, holding a cigarette, exhaling smoke rings, or sitting in front of overflowing ashtrays.

As faces blurred into distant one-act plays, photographs of a different sort floated above the flotsam and jetsam of kindergarden, high school, college, grad school, and married life: twenty years of moonrises and sunsets from across the globe. No matter how old I was and where I had been, I had consistently grounded myself in the security of the two orbs that rise and fall each day.

desert sun


On the shores of San Ignacio Bay. Atop the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. Tucked into the Puerto Rican rainforest. Overlooking a cemetery in Asilah. On the Hudson, the Rhein, the Mississippi, the Thames, the Seine. In a cul de sac in Durham. On a kayak in the Everglades. Even as I was connecting to the people and the cultures and the foods and the romance of travel, I was grounded in the universal that connects us all. For regardless of death and glee, loss and adventure, heartache and bliss, the sun and moon are the two constants in our life. And in their constancy, we can find solace, for we are all part of this daily cycle.

Paul Coelho tells us that

“intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there … it is we who nourish the Soul of the World, and the world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse. And that’s where the power of love comes in. Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.”

Today, we are eight days closer to the longest day of the year — 21 June. On 1 January 2014, there will be a New Moon — and it is one of two Super Moons in January. It is the hope of Winter Solstice that carries us forward, knowing that from darkness comes light. It is the hope of a New Moon and a New Year that one can start afresh.

Nourishing the Soul of the World seems as good a place to start as any.