Perigee Syzygy: Moonlight Observations
‘The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper’ - Eden Phillpotts
On May 7th of this year a celestial occurrence took place. It saw the sky shining more brightly than usual, although to many people that night was little different to any other. A Supermoon, more technically called as being a perigee syzygy or, for this specific event, a “Flower Moon”, shortly inhabited the expanse above, and it was doing so very quietly.
A Supermoon occurs when the moon is in its position of being closest to the Earth during orbit. This makes the moon appear as both significantly brighter, as well as slightly larger than usual. Depending on locational hemisphere, celestial events such as this can appear more prominently, although on this particular night the sight was still noticeable to me in the United Kingdom.
It was cold and pitch dark outside at around 10:30PM. I was crouching by the doorstep after hurrying downstairs, binoculars in hand, ready for the view. To me it’s slightly baffling how people can fail to appreciate the sky and the ways in which it is beautiful. As Eden Phillpotts said, ‘The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper’.
I often find that these things go unnoticed, the beautiful things. The intricate details of the moon hovering over my head were not begging to be seen, despite the fact that they would have had every reason to demand attention. Standing there among the dusky shadows, being able to see the craters and etchings on its surface over the silhouette of a rooftop felt like something that wasn’t real.
Sights like these really make me think and they remind me of how there is so much other than myself existing out there in the universe. It’s grounding, in the best of ways, and perhaps if we spent a little longer being observant and a touch less time being caught up in societal webs such as consumerism and hustle culture, then we would place higher value upon reality intrinsically.
At least half an hour must have passed as I was looking up at the moon. I was, at that point, standing on a footpath next to the all too familiar red school sign and a slightly weather beaten cherry blossom tree. The branches of the tree stuck out in assorted ways, covering all but the beams of light managing to lace their way through while I was by the doorstep moments prior. I remember thinking to myself that this was pretty, regardless of the view's obstruction. It was as if the branches were reaching out, wanting to hold the moon. Maybe they were able to see the beauty within it too.
Next time you are outside, especially at night, I urge you to take a moment to pause and be present. In these moments where the world around you remains shrouded in dark there is great opportunity for personal clarity.
What can you see? What can you feel? Isn’t it indescribably beautiful to sense these things at all? To be real; to be human.