As a nation our imagination was captured a few weeks ago – we loved the eclipse because it reminded us that we could dance.
As a girl I would twirl in bare feet, braids swinging, dirt-hemmed sundress spinning. When I was a girl, fairytales still existed and magic leaked from every flower-grown hedge and dusky tree.
Then I grew into reality. No matter how I try to keep the mystery alive… grocery store runs, cleaning bathrooms, runny noses, arguments and driving, driving, driving seem to rule my days.
The sun comes up, and I march through to-do lists and meeting needs. The sun falls, and maybe I have stolen a few minutes to read God’s word, write a prayer, and watch the handiwork of His sunset, but then it is showers and bedtime and resting my weary body.
Time is home, and the days a comforting rhythm. Time is a master, stealing and propelling and dictating much of what our days will be. We do not know how to live beyond it, but often it robs us of the dance.
We live so short that the steps in a galactic waltz seem far between and slow. But we are whirling through space and a few minutes on a Monday morning reminded us that sun and moon and all of us are dancing sacred.
The moon stepped lyrical out of its usual rhythm and shadows fell a million tiny crescents. My son held a mirror reflecting a perfect curved slice of sunlight across the street, anointing buildings with a backwards benediction – the day the sun became the moon and we danced giddy circles in the parking lot.
Fifteen minutes and the shadows began to swell to their usual bokeh.
The weekend before as I searched for glasses and telescope filters, I had dreaded fitting one more thing into a busy back-to-school day – eclipse viewing was on the calendar. But as we drove home and the light playing through leaves across my dashboard regained their normally symmetry, I quietly grieved that this respite could be so brief. Don’t we deserve to dance a little longer?
But the moonlight reflects in her eyes, and their smiles splinter light all to pieces. Between the bedtime struggles and swim practice we twirl and twirl as the sun arcs up and down again, tracing a path so sure that we never have to wonder when morning will come or rest will take us in again.
This is the dance for now, steps learned and given and one day new ones will be revealed.
Until then gracious boundaries are set that cradle and comfort us.
Until then we watch Youtube videos of sunsets setting a perfect sphere, and hear our friends and countrymen gasping with wonder. “It can’t be described,” they say. The ordinary miracle of day turning to night and back again. The thrilling melody of a note played differently than we normally percieve.
The thrill of remembering this is all magic – the moon and earth dancing like children round a fiery giant. One day we will “dance, dance, children dance, dance forevermore.”
I drive home to making lunch and putting school books away.
“Remember,” I tell myself, “to stop and stare at the rose petals falling.” In a world of tasks and deadlines, it is not silly to trace a line of paint just to make something, it is not wasteful to steal away and read another chapter just to be lost in story. Even the moon must travel a different path some days to feel the dance and fling magic like little crescents all over our faces.
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“Wonder is that possession of the mind that enchants the emotions while never surrendering reason. It is a grasp on reality that does not need constant high points in order to be maintained, nor is it made vulnerable by the low points of life’s struggle. It sees in the ordinary the extraordinary, and it finds in the extraordinary the reaffirmations for what it already knows. Wonder clasps the soul (the spiritual) and is felt in the body (the material). Wonder interprets life through the eyes of eternity while enjoying the moment, but never lets the momentary vision exhaust the eternal. Wonder makes life’s enchantment real and knows when and where enchantment must lie. Wonder knows how to read the shadows because it knows the nature of light. Wonder know that while you cannot look at the light you cannot look at anything else without it. It is not exhausted by childhood, but finds its key there. It is a journey like a walk through the woods, over the usual obstacles and around the common distractions while the voice of direction leads, saying “This is the way, walk in it.”… Wonder cannot help but sing. Even nature recognizes that.”
- Ravi Zacharias in Recapture the Wonder
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A video of the eclipse my son captured with his iPhone through a telescope filter – IMG_8306