And on the other hand...

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Eclipse? Earthquake?

I felt nothing. Is it awareness, through CNN or the Internet, that makes us" notice" these disturbances in the force?  Being a moon watcher, I was all gaga over the supermoon last month,  but I pretty much ignored the eclipse because it wouldn't be visible on my little island in the middle of the Pacific. Despite people here saying they felt "agitated," my own sense at that time was lethargy.  If it hadn't been in the news, I wonder if anyone would have reported any sensations at all.

But yesterday someone was talking to me about "the earthquake," about which I knew nothing. I acted embarrassed, said, "Maybe I should follow the news more."  Now, the tsunami of last year from Japan...yes, that in fact had impact, if minimal, here, but the earthquake on the other side of the planet...I'm totally oblivious.  I had been aware of the 2008 earthquake in Chengdu, because it disrupted travel plans, but a quake in Italy a couple days ago was as remote to me in time and space as Pompeii. (Although on reflection, I realize that was a volcano, but Hawaii we're kind of sensitive to those too.  Tsunami, earthquake, volcanos, hurricanes, all natural convulsions of Mother Earth.)

My friend, the Italian quake watcher, had lived in Italy, knew the town, so understandably was concerned.  And now I certainly have a compassionate, if futile, feeling for the victims...all 17 of them, so far. If the Red Cross asks, I'll probably contribute.

But earthquakes happen, like a mattress is disturbed when your partner rolls over: maybe you wake up with snoring in your ear, maybe the covers have been yanked away. Maybe you fall out of bed.  But if it's the mattress in the apartment on the other side of the building, down a few floors...meaningless, except to say to your neighbor in the elevator, "Wow, you look like you didn't get much sleep last night."  Assuming you actually talk to your neighbors in the elevator.

The world is full of uncertainty and tragedy. And now I'm thinking of ancient folks who suddenly might be struck by an eclipse and an earthquake, maybe a storm and a volcanic eruption...all at the same time. I might try to find meaning in such things myself.   But as a modern person, does it matter if I don't know about things I can't control?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Something Fishy

In the midst of all the hoopla over the "Supermoon," some of it quite ridiculous, like this thing that was circulating on the net:
Were you transformed? There's still time! There's always time.
the Wizard returned from a business trip to Chuuk (Truk), one of the watery atolls of the Federated States of Micronesia.  I had asked him to bring me a storyboard, a traditional woodcarving on which legends of the islands are depicted.  In some sort of timely irony, the one he gave me is of three guys who want to capture the moon.  They fashion a long pole with tree branches and something like forceps at the end, but are unable to grab the orb.  (The person who sold the storyboard confided that maybe her ancestors weren't very bright.)

But the legend, which is not too unlike fingers pointing to the moon, was appropriate to the weekend.  I was struggling in the middle of the night with my camera, trying to take some photos of that big bright moon.  I couldn't find my glasses, and I have never quite mastered the wide range of settings and controls for exposure and flash on my little Panasonic.  Still I got some photos of the moon, but of course I never could really capture it.

But I did my best.
About 5 minutes from setting in the west.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Supersize Me a Moon

This weekend was--for lunatics, at least--a big deal:  2012's "supermoon" corresponded (more or less) with other seasonal dates of note including May Day, Lei Day, Cinco de MayoBeltane, Vesak (Buddha's Birthday, which according to Wikipedia, actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Gautama Buddha), and several of my friends' birthdays and a wedding anniversary. The rising and setting of this particular moon was full of meaning.

Whether the moment is actually auspicious, I suppose, depends on your own proclivities.  But the lunar display certainly was over the top in my neighborhood.  I was up and down all night watching it; last year's supermoon (in March of 2011) was obscured by dense clouds, as I recall.  Last evening, I caught it rising in the east with my humble little point-and-shoot (which would probably do a better job if I would sit down with the manual and actually practice the settings.)

But what comes up in the east, must eventually go down in the west.  After struggling with the camera through the night, I woke about 5:30 a.m. just in time to be able to catch it before it sank below the Waianae Range in the west.

The amazing pearl was gone by about 6 a.m. and I went back to bed too!  And am pleased to note that among the holidays listed for May it is also International No Diet Day!  (Well, in that case, every day is a holiday for me.)  The supersized moon was fries needed!