A personal perpsective of life in our Virginia vineyard... Christine Wells Vrooman



Triple Celestial Event!

Last night the alignment of the sun and moon and the rhythm of the seasons lined up for a rare, and I mean rare, celestial event. Not since the year of 1638 has such an event occured. On the Winter solstice we had a full moon this year. In addition, we witnessed a full lunar eclipse. Well, some of us did at least.
Our skies were clear as the huge round moon rose above the mountain ridge. Our land here at Ankida Ridge is still covered with snow, so to stand outside in the dark overlooking the vineyard and into the woods was bright enough to see every branch, every limb on the ground, every shadow of the trees. It is absolutely magical to stand in that silvery, milky aura of light.

Just after midnight, an hour or so before the onset of the eclipse, a haze stretched across the sky, and just  before the eclipse started, a band of dotted clouds began rushing past the moon, giving the effect of the moon racing across the sky. And by the time the eclipse was underway, the clouds had totally obscured my view of the moon. My eyes did not see one moment of this rare stretch of hours that had not been experienced in 372 years!

But as I lie in bed, tucked snuggly under the covers on this blustery, cold winter's night, I reveled in the rarity of this celestial event, imagining life here in these mountains the last time this alignment coincided. There were no settlers here then. Our mountains and valleys were quiet and unlit and inhabited only by the Natives, the Monacan Tribes. They lived in clusters nestled in small patches of cleared forests, and under the light of the moon their teepees must have glowed. At the image, I smiled as I tucked myself more deeply under the covers and had to settle for imagining what was happening in the heavens above, behind the untimely clouds. I had witnessed a lunar eclipse in the past. I knew that once the first cresecnt slice of white was carved from the bright, white face of the moon, the lunar glow would gradually dim, until at the full eclipse it becomes an eerie, rusty orange ball hanging in the sky. Then the white crescent returns and creeps across the orange face, growing fuller and finally returning the moon to its former glory, illuminating my woods once again with a silvery, magical, lunar light.

I was asleep well before the eclipse had peaked and would have to settle for other people's captured images. But I made the moment special in the only way I could, to reflect on it and imagine its beauty. I look forward to a half moon for this Christmas Eve and the light it will sprinkle into my beloved woods and upon my beloved family who will gather here this Christmas time.

Moonlight and a family gathered....Simple pleasures. But those are the best kind.

This Winter Solstice morning delivered me a beautifully colored sunrise, the sun rising today at its southern-most point.  It will now begin its trek toward the northern sky, across our valley, moving right to left now, and with it lengthening each day just a bit.  We've made it past the shortest day of the year!

 And now... onto the celebration of Christmas! 

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