On this shining night…

Screenshot 2019-12-13 07.04.40

12:12 a.m. on 12/12/19  mjh+

On this shining night…

On this shining night, the light of the full moon was so bright at midnight, I woke up believing that a new day is dawning.

I’m often awakened in the middle of the night and this night was no exception. The shared experience of Middle Night was common back when people used to extinguish their candles and go to bed soon after the sun went down. Halfway through the night, people would often awaken refreshed and whisper together of things to come before returning to a deeper and more relaxed shared sleep. Fear not, it is a good thing. Middle night is when mystics and lovers reach out into the dark and find their inspiration to keep on loving. Tonight, I’m all in.

Like clockwork, I fell asleep early in the evening and woke up refreshed as the Long Night Moon passed her midpoint in the night sky. This moon phase is especially stirring as it is reaching its fullness on 12/12 at 12:12 a.m. Twelve is a holy number and so I am keeping watch through the 12 o’clock hour, then I’ll sleep well again.

The phases of the moon are a bit illusive, if one pauses to contemplate it. It’s a dance of shadows and reflected light. The orbiting moon doesn’t ever entirely disappear. It’s always just passing through and it always circles back in. Earth’s moon is always with us, pulling our deepest waters in a tidal swing dance of ebbs and flows.

If we look beyond the surface of the moon, it’s the rays of distant sunlight which make the moon shadows seem to continually wax and wane. Still, there is something that pulls me into tonight’s bright fullness of the moon. I am stirred to go stand in the presence of the moonlight and reflect on all that has happened over this past decade.

Let’s just say it has been more than a decade of wondering as I wander around. I’ve been all over everywhere these past ten years with my two dearest kindred travelers in life. How can one even begin to tag all the dear friends we’ve met along the way… all have helped point us toward home. My kids’ travels are continuing on without me now, as it should be, so here I stand alone on this night. It’s new ground for me, being entirely on my own, but tonight I am at peace with it.

It’s been a hard lonely ten years walking in the midst of the masses, filled with changes and chances which leave me feeling a bit unsteady on my feet. This night, as I tentatively step out on the crunchy snow, I notice that the starry sky is crystal clear. It feels as though the night air could shatter and rain down shards of glass upon me if I walk without reverence into its reflection. I know this rain of glass, so I step lightly tonight.

One never walks alone outside on an icy night without real fear of falling. My phone is ever with me if I must call out for help, though I rarely ever do. Instead, I make insta-picture postcards with my phone to let people know I’m ok, but really it’s to let myself know that I’m going to be ok. I know this. Tonight as I take a few pictures, the ground seems softer as it shines with a luminescence that is magnified by the snow which fell earlier at yesterday’s dawn. I was up for that First Light too.

Because of the time of year, this cycle of the moon has a high trajectory across the sky. Unlike the sun at noon in this season, the midnight moon is almost directly over my head. It’s brilliantly lit tonight and I am waked by it to the point of shivers which turn me inside out. My bare hands are shaking as I instinctively try to capture the light in the dark. I was in such a hurry to get outside that I forgot to put on my coat. My shaking hands surprise me because I don’t feel cold at all, I feel strong.

Nights like these bring out all sorts of shadows in and around us which the sun cannot cast away. Every body howls at the full moon in varying voices. We go a bit crazy if we’re still at all alive. People aren’t quite so evolved when a full moon is pushing through us, thanks be to God. So we go primal and speak our deeper truths. These aren’t our shadows to be feared, nor repressed, these are our dreamy reflections of the brightest of Light which pierces through the darkness. We are Life and Love in all places and in all times. We will not be extinguished.

I stand in wonder. I’m watching a seductively slow dance. The sun on the other side of our world is casting light upon half of the moon which is circling near to us at this moment in time. The moon in motion catches these beams of sunlight and reflects them into our opened eyes, if we sleepers are awake.

After an unfathomably long journey at lightspeed, these transformed moonbeams on this night find their way to the freshly fallen snow in my yard, which all around me is reflecting the light back up into my eyes. The icy air makes my eyes water, as I wipe away the salty tears. The reflected light is so much softer even as it sparkles like magic.

In many ways, we can see farther into the darkness than into the light. Because the light is faint on a long dark night, we can clearly see the distant stars. So I stand here in awe of all that happens which is beyond my control. God’s Creation is always dancing, spinning us around whether we notice it or not. Are we awake and ready to give it a go?

We ourselves are perched on a spinning planet with no sense at all of how fast we are all moving together through the universe. When will we ever understand that we are all in this life together? Will that time ever come? I pray tonight that our time is now. At this hushed holy hour, I pray for Peace on Earth and in my own heart. I am bathed in moonlight and I am grateful.

Alas, I am also achingly aware that in all manner of things on this side of heaven, this too shall pass. I can’t hold on to anything or anyone tonight, I must let it all go again and again and again; and then I must begin again and again and again, with God’s help. I can’t do this alone. We cannot do it all on our own and we do not have to.

God’s love surrounds us, yet do have each other to turn toward. When we reach out into the dark, we can inspire each other to keep loving the Light. We do not have to go it alone. God’s love neither departs nor arrives, God is always with us. True love both pulls on us and propels us onward through the darkness and into the Light. Love is our shining light which we, in turn, reflect onto others. We deeply know that we are not the source of such abundance. God is the source of all Light and Love.

Do you see it? Sunlight is always in motion, seemingly too swift in its passing. Love and Light are ever-changing yet changeless. I don’t even try to hold on to any of it anymore except in writing this. As the world swirls, I can wish upon a star. I often dream that I am holding on to my dearest loves, but I cannot quite see them again, not yet. If I hold on too tight, it wouldn’t be their life to live anymore. Love is lived in the letting go too.

Let it be known to the universe right here and right now that it is my deepest instinct to hold on tight and not ever let go. I suffer no illusions that Light or Love dwells within my control, but I’m hanging on for dear life anyway. I well remember my loves who have gone on, I will hold on to their love and light for ever. This I can do with a whole heart.

So, for now, I send along this snapshot of a moment in time. On this shining night, all I can say is that God’s loving light continues to cast away the shadows of darkness. I am changed by it yet again. A new day is dawning.



for further reading:

NYT Letter of Recommendation: Segmented Sleep

How did people sleep in the middle ages?

for further listening:


A playlist:

Advent: Songs for the Way of Love+

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Gloria Walter says:

    Just wonderful, Maria. I, too, marveled in the moonlight when I awoke.

    1. Love to you and Bob, dear Gloria❤️

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