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      Full moon over a fir tree

Once in a while, we are given to witness a wonder of nature, something so stunning and beautiful, so amazing to our eyes and our senses that we feel transported, we are truly astonished and delighted…

Once in January in the French Alps

It happened to me a couple of years ago, it was in January and when I first opened the wood shades, I saw the full moon hovering over the mountain. I was in the downstairs appartement of the chalet, facing Northwest, and there is a forest between the mountain, and us and I could see the moon was about to reach one big fir tree. So I rushed back to my room, grabbed my camera, ran upstairs to the top balcony of the chalet and got ready. And during the two or three minutes that it took for the big whitish globe to reach the top of the darkened tree and create the shot I already had in my head, I became acutely aware of our little planet turning on its axis… I mean, I have understood for years gravity and the earth revolutions and stuff like that so I’m not saying this was all news to me. But there is such a huge difference between an intellectual (and possibly superficial) knowledge of something and the sudden deep understanding of what it really is, the amazingly profound grasping with our mind and heart and soul in sync. I was standing there on the balcony thinking that I could feel the earth rotating under my feet since my eyes were measuring its progress. I absolutely loved it! And I got a good shot.

The moon as a silver balloon

So tonight, two years after my original experience of truly feeling and seeing this daily rotation of the earth, and now sleeping in another bedroom (since the death of my father and to be closer to my mother), looking Westward through the window, I kept staring at the moon for a while. Again I became acutely aware of little old me - plus six billion of my brothers and sisters – all of us slowly moving through space all together! I felt very grateful I could see it from my bedroom. There are not many lights on our side of the valley so the moon stood out even more like a sparkling silver balloon.

Full moon over the mountain

Simple wonders of nature, which often trigger within me a deep sense of admiration for the world, the whole creation and a profound gratitude for life. And furthermore they usually help me meditate on how little we are, how fragmented is our own knowledge, how rarely do we get deep insight, but if and when we do, let us share them!

Here is a copy of the original shot from January 2010 “Pleine lune sur le Marcellis et sur un sapin » which I took from the top floor of the chalet, waiting for the moon to be just over that tallest tree ... and the second one, a couple of years later, another winter landscape with a full moon, which I took from my new bedroom, and which reminded me of the first one and of that amazing sensation of being intensely and wholly aware of the rotation of the earth and of the whole of humanity participating in it... Having realized this, I now know I can "test it" every month, what am I saying, every day, from wherever I am in the world, as long as I can see the moon.

full moon over Vercland

The global appeal of full moons and sunsets

I can also experience it daily with the sun, especially at the end of the day (since we cannot stare directly at the sun) and the very best and unique moment is when the sun is setting down, just before it gets swallowed up by the horizon. I'm talking about SUNSETS! Any sunset, from anywhere in the whole world, is a short, fleeting, but intense moment of beauty in nature and it is linked, more or less consciously, with an awareness of our own global family, which explains why everyone is attracted to them.

This particular experience of this shot of the full moon brought me a more profound understanding of how we are all linked together. It was an emotional and rational experience but once felt, it did change a few tiny particles in my brain and in my heart since I would easily go back to it again a couple of years later, then tap into it again and again at sunset times. If such a simple experience can actually help me “see” myself more profoundly as part of the human family, since we are sharing this little rotating planet of ours, since it was such a very positive and enriching experience, then I also noticed that it opened many doors re: the psychology of a positive attitude and the theology of gratitude.

Opening the doors of gratitude

In my case, it was absolutely linked to a Christian worldview which asks us to thank God for the creation. This particular Judeo-Christian gift of a worldview acknowledging and thanking the Creator has been deepened even more precisely for myself by the encounter with Jesus Christ until it reached every facet of my daily life, including the puzzled and perplexing ones and even the suffering ones. This is quite a mystery, I am well aware I barely grasp a tiny part of it, but I do know for a fact that it actually open new perspectives which I am, years later, still discovering. The Catholic Church has, from the very beginning, written and taught a lot about this particular mystery of being able to give thanks in the midst of suffering and stress. The saints and martyrs have left us terrific testimonies and sound writings.

Now that I look back on my original full moon experience of the rotation of the earth and the consequences I drew from it, I realize that the fact that it happened when I was accompanying my own parents at the end of their life played such a large part in my ability to express gratitude for the smallest gifts along the way, and in the process, to generate a deeper appreciation than usual for everything, including the challenging gift of caring and serving others, including even my own suffering. Slowly and surprisingly, I understood that physical pain and mental anguish can be transformed once I could offer them, not that the "suffering" part was gone but it was experienced from a different angle which now included some peace and serenity and trust…

All through one shot, one photo, in one particular context!

One shot, two winter full moons, thousands of earth rotations and millions of cogitations and musings in my head, my heart, my soul...

I seek beauty and wonder and I keep taking photos and I share them because I know how much I appreciate someone’s else photos, how much each beautiful and moving one can change me, even if only briefly, by enriching me, encouraging me and benefiting my soul. There is link between the awareness of our humanity being shared today more than ever before on a global scale and the very simple - and fleeting - process of sharing beauty in the art of photography... or so I think. Each one should bring us closer to gratitude and empathy.

Michele Szekely@2010-2012-2021-2023

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