Sometimes you have to look to the sky to see the wonder of your beautiful wildlife garden. And sometimes you have to get up early to catch the magic and peacefulness of rare happenings in nature.
Last Saturday, December 10, 2011 was a full lunar eclipse that was visible in our area of the country. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth comes between the moon and the sun, creating a perfect shadow on the moon by blocking the sun’s rays. In order to have a total lunar eclipse, all three bodies must be in perfect alignment, and there must be a full moon.
So why is this worth losing sleep over? Well, it doesn’t happen very often and even when it does it might not be visible from where you live. Sometimes it happens early in the night, like the last one I watched a couple of years ago. Then I stayed up late to watch the moon turn red around midnight, its beauty much more pronounced due to the dark of the night. This time around, the lunar eclipse happened just before sunrise, so I was able to see both the moon setting and the sun rising at the same time – very rare indeed!
Even the wildlife gave me a special treat for getting up early. As I was watching the lunar eclipse, standing out in the brisk, 10 degree air, I heard the “hoot, hoot” of a Great Horned Owl in the pine trees.
It was still rather dark but as the dawn’s light brightened just a bit the owl flew in front of me as if to say good morning. A magical moment, two rare nature occurrences at one time. Was it worth getting out of bed for? Definitely. Not knowing when I will see another eclipse or owl, I will cherish these magical nature moments.
The next full lunar eclipse will not happen until April 2014 so you will have plenty of time to plan on participating in watching these rare events!
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