In the quiet of early morning, I bundled up against the newly-arrived winter temperatures and slipped out the front door for a 5:30 a.m. walk. Above, the stars gleamed as they only can when the humidity and temperature drop, and as I stepped off the porch my breath caught to see Venus, radiant and huge, a spotlight in the blackness, and barely north of it, the thinnest sliver of moon peeking from the shadow of the Earth, its yellow so slim that it seemed airbrushed on the edge of a smoky gray full moon. There’s something mysterious in seeing the whole moon when most of it is not “lit,” something that quiets the mind and highlights how small I am in the grand scheme of the universe.
I kept my eyes on it throughout my walk; the sliver was deceptive, I realized. There was a faint outline of light ringing the dark part, which made the fullness clearer. I watched it edge closer to the horizon and morph slowly in color, from charcoal to slate gray to something bluer and bluer as the sky around it lightened. By the time I arrived home, the sky was no longer black, but pale blue, and all that remained was the hairs-breath of a crescent. I knew by the next morning, it would be gone altogether, and the knowledge humbled me, filled me with an awareness of all that is beyond me, all that is holy and beautiful, and good.