Admiring the Total Eclipse of the Super Blue Blood Moon

Admiring the Total Eclipse of the Super Blue Blood Moon

Last week, I set my alarm for 4:45 a.m. to have a look at the total eclipse of the super blue blood moon. I was tempted to put that expression in all-caps, it sounds so dramatic. And I was tempted not to set the alarm, because I was skeptical of the amazingness in store for me.

Maybe that was because I’m Canadian, a culture not prone to overstatement. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in its understated way, is less promotional in its lunar eclipse materials, staying away from the term supermoon, which entered US galactic promo lingo when it was coined by American astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979.

The alarm startled me from the first sleep I felt like I’d had on a restless night; maybe I was disturbed by the bright supermoon light pouring in my window. I dragged myself out of bed, a bit jangled and dozy. As I sat out in my driveway looking at the orange moon against the navy-black sky, trying to decide if I thought it had been worth it to get up, I thought of this La Fontaine fable.

One day, on his long legs, the heron went on his way, I don’t know where, his long beak fixed atop his long neck. He followed a river. The rippling water was as clear as the most beautiful days. My friend the carp was doing a thousand tricks with his mate the pike. The heron could have easily had his pick. All came near the water’s edge, the bird had nothing to do but take them.

But, he thought it better to wait until he had a bit more of an appetite. He lived by a regime and liked to eat at his hours. After a few moments, his appetite roused. The bird approached the bank, where he saw a school of tenches who were swimming up from their home in the depths. They were a bottom feeder he didn’t like much. He was waiting for better and made a show of his palate’s disdain.

Me, eat tenches! He said. Me, a heron, that I should have such a poor meal? Who do they take me for?

The tenches rebuffed, he found some gudgeon.

Gudgeon! As if that common carp is a fit meal for a heron! You think I’d open my beak for so little! Heaven forbid.

Well, he opened his beak for less. Things went on such that he didn’t see another fish. Hunger overcame him and he was very happy and very relieved to encounter a slug.

Don’t be difficult. The most accommodating are the most ingenious. We risk losing, when we want to win too much. Beware disdain, especially when you have most of what you need. Many people get caught in that trap.

The opposite of disdain is awe. Albert Camus once wrote (in an introduction to his first collection of essays, written on their re-release 20 years later), “I started to live in admiration, which is, in a sense, a terrestrial paradise.” To live in admiration is not to admire everything indiscriminately. Rather it is to let what we don’t admire fall away, without cynicism, criticism or irony, and focus on what is worth our attention.

As I watched the moon slip on its orange robe, the tall pines standing sentinel, their black outlines set against the night sky like a child’s decoupage, I heard their branches whisper, then felt the breeze against my cheek, against the tired tear that had rolled down my cheek to my lip. I heard a few coyotes’ choral call and response. And as January’s chill brushed against my face, feathered around a bare ankle, I felt, too, the warmth of the rest of my body, burrowed inside two down coats, a blanket and my warmest motherknit sweater.

A shooting star streaked off to the side. The moon had moved into the shadow of the earth now, but that star had died before my ancestors were born. I was seeing time.

The moon didn’t look quite as extraordinary as the advance marketing had promised, but when I tried to wrap my spirit around what was happening, awe struck.

I was glad I hadn’t waited for a more spectacular celestial event. As the fable says, I have what I need. I want to lean in to awe, not disdain, to live in admiration.

What are these Fableogs?

Fable en Français



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