The moon came up Sunday night, huge and full and golden. I'm always entranced by the moon. I gaze at it often, many times while walking my dog. I can say I've seen gorgeous moonrises a great deal.
But Sunday night as I looked rapturously at the moon in the clear blue winter sky, I realized I was seeing a rather incredible aura around it. Not encircling it, like most halos. No -
This aura gleamed out in the shape of a magnificent cross.
As wide across as the full moon itself, it stretched out into the night, up and down, side to side. I kept going away, returning, going away, returning. Still I could see it. I can't describe the feeling it gave me. I quivered with the impossibilty, but still I saw it there.
I did a look around on the net and discovered I'd seen a moon pillar, an optical effect caused by ice crystals in the atmosphere. Of course, most of the moon pillars only go up and down. This one also went side to side. FANTASTIC.
For this week's Poetry Train, I offer a poem, or what seem to be the lyrics to a hymn, written by the same man who wrote 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'. I can't find a title for it. But I came across it several years ago and was entranced by the middle verse, which I wrote in my Christmas cards that year. It really captures that magical, awe-filled sensation I always get on Christmas Eve.
The earth has grown old with its burden of care,
But at Christmas it always is young,
The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair,
And its soul, full of music, bursts forth on the air,
When the song of the angels is sung.
It is coming, Old Earth, it is coming tonight!
On the snowflakes which cover thy sod
The feet of the Christ Child fall gentle and white,
And the voice of the Christ Child tells out with delight,
That mankind are the children of God.
On the sad and the lonely, the wretched and poor,
The voice of the Christ Child shall fall;
And to every blind wanderer open the door
Of hope that he dared not to dream of before,
With a sunshine of welcome for all.
- Phillips Brooks
Merry, merry Christmas to all of you! May peace surround you, may joy embrace you.