Last night the eastern coast of Australia bore witness to a full lunar eclipse. Not a staggeringly rare event since lunar eclipses can occur a few times a year. But you can only behold the spectacle if you are stationed in the right spot. It was the first complete eclipse that could have been viewed in its entirety in Brisbane since 2000.
Chris and I drove up to the top of Mt Cootha and enjoyed an impromptu picnic as we watched the observation area fill with both avid astronomers and casual onlookers. For an evening we were a part of a community compelled to satisfy curiosity and witness a moderately elusive event.
Some patchy clouds partially obscured our views but as the eclipse reached its height we were able to watch the orb turn a dusty rose. For a moment we were among people briefly exiting from their all too often pedantic lives to marvel at the magnitude of the cosmos. We were reminded that while sometimes our own lives can seem unbearably overwhelming that we are a part of a greater scheme in which when the components are properly aligned something extraordinary can be perceived.
I once heard a character on a now defunct WB teenage drama comment that “Things need to happen to you at the exact right moment in your life or they are meaningless”. While I don’t necessarily subscribe to such an extreme viewpoint on the fleeting significance of life’s events I do believe there is a measure of synchronous colluding required for us to fully appreciate the true essence of the moment.
Take the daily sunset as an example. Nature puts on a showing in changing technicolour on a nightly basis yet rare are the days that I actually take note of this wondrous display. Perhaps I am just not outside or clouds are obscuring the sky or maybe I am just to absorbed in a personal melodrama to fully recognize the beauty.
How many other moments in my life casually drift by without particular notice because I am preoccupied and unopen to discernment?