Solstice Eclipse

Tonight I bundled up against the chill and stood alone in my courtyard, watching Earth’s shadow creep across the full, icy white Solstice moon. So beautiful. As I write, the moon is reappearing after being eclipsed for over an hour, and the song I am listening to is one of several that I sung as I watched. I always watch for a full moon, more often since moving here where skies are clear more frequently than most other cities in Canada – and I live in the countryside with hardly a light to be seen this time of night. But tonight is Winter Solstice, so I’m very grateful to my friend Beth for letting me know that the full moon marked on my calendar would turn into this. A full moon eclipse at winter solstice won’t happen again for several thousand years. And as much as I love Christmas, it is as much about the pagan traditions of Solstice and New Year’s Eve for me as the more recent Christian traditions that overlaid them – recognition of the change of seasons, the year’s passing, winter’s hold on everything, that suspension of time that comes with ice and snow, and yet the promise of day returning. And no more potent an image for me than a lunar eclipse on a starry night where the woods stand out in stark silhouette against snow. The Earth’s shadow has receded most of the way now, the snow outside my windows brightening again, and for once the moon is still high and southward enough to see here, not hidden behind the hills to the west just yet. I’ll stay up just a little longer, until the eclipse is over. Here’s the song again, in Latin, the way I like it best, so the beautiful melody stands out in the solemn syllables without the connotations of the hymn getting in the way. It does fit, though, for a solstice moon: grazia plena, full of grace.

UNAnny 2010 – Summer Recap Part I

Outside the snow is Vancouverish enough to stick to every twig and leaf, a fresh three inches that started while we were at an office Christmas party last night to add to the icy stuff that hasn’t left since the first fall on November 18th. It’s prettier now, but by this afternoon it could be a muddy bog out there, ugh. To beat the winter blues, I’ve just spent a few hours this weekend back in the height of summer, enjoying the photos from our UNniversary 2010 gathering. (That’s yours truly at left.) 2010 has been an extremely busy year for us with projects at home, travels for holidays and visits with friends, and overtime in our challenging jobs. I have a lot on my plate this weekend (reapplying for my job, cleaning and decorating my house for the holidays, helping Richard with basement renos), but the guilt over not getting my blog updated is killing me, so while it’s still pitch black and silent – up at 5 again today for some reason – I thought I’d at least get the UNAnny pics up. This year’s UNEvent was wonderful, a great turnout of our friends again despite the distance and even busier lives on the part of our guests and their growing families. The odd summer rains held off long enough for a great day at the river on the Saturday and a special construction project Sunday, and made for a lush new lawn to entertain our friends on. (I never did do a proper reveal of our new landscaping, but pay attention to these photos and you’ll get the gist.) Richard’s food was one of the highlights as usual, and since I spent most of Saturday in the river myself, joined in on badminton, and tried to spend some quality time with all of my surrogate nieces and nephews, I didn’t pick up my camera as much this year except when the food came out. And I admit I wasn’t last in line for dinner every night this year, either! Or dessert…. Did I mention we got a soft serve ice cream machine for the occasion? Two words: sundae bar. Mmmm.