I just got back from another wonderful, transformational, and healing bosque experience. I feel that it was what my pastor, fellow Albuquerquean, and fellow Huffington Post blogger Richard Rohr calls an "actual inner experience that is even mystical" in his blog Religion: Three Ways to View the Sunset.
In my last blog about how I had met a new best friend in the bosque a while back, just as I gazed at the full moon was setting and the sun rising simultaneously and how magical that felt. Today, as I was jogging with my Ruby the Beagle over the Montano bridge heading east from the Rio Grande's west bank bosque to the east bosque (just as I had been during on the way to meet my new BB), I was treated to another wonderful sky show. This time, I gazed the Waning Crescent Moon rising right in front of me above the Sandia Mountains at about 30 degrees, and it was opening upward (called the "wet moon" or the "Cheshire moon"). The rolls of clouds cradling it were a velvety pink - and the sun was getting ready to rise in the moon's wake! Later at home, I checked the newspaper and, sure enough, moonrise was at 6:21 AM today and sunrise was an hour and 4 minutes later!
That upward-facing waning crescent had quickly triggered a train of thought in my brain: The Islamic symbol. I had lived in the Middle East, where one sees it as often as we Americans nowadays see a cross or the Smiley Face emoji!.
As I continued east, I was rewarded by watching the sky change as dramatically as a northern lights display: as the sun came closer to rising about the Sandias, the clouds phased first into an orange that, while adjacent to the blackish mountain silhouette, looked rather Halloween-like. (Halloween was two moons away!). Then, the clouds turned the color of watermelon ("Sandia" means "watermelon" in Spanish, and is popularly believed to refer to the reddish color of the mountains at sunset!).
The heat and fire of the sun made its grand appearance a bit later, and the rising crescent it was chasing took refuge behind the rolls of clouds in the otherwise cloudless sky. I turned around and headed home, feeling that all was good with the world, especially on the bridge above the Bosque as well as in the Bosque below. Another wondrous Bosque coincidence had brought me to a beautiful presence.
• The terms wet moon and dry moon (downward facing crescent) originate from Hawaiian mythology, where it was thought that the moon appeared as a bowl which would fill up with rain.
• The term "Cheshire moon" is of course a reference to the smile of the Cheshire Cat of Lewis Carroll's story Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
• From its use as roof finial in Ottoman mosques, the crescent has become associated with Islam.
• For Roman Catholics, the crescent moon is associated with the Virgin Mary and thus is a popular symbol in both New and Old Mexico sacred art, such as with Our Lady of Guadalupe.
• The classical crescent shape with its horns pointing upward in the art world has long been used as a crown or diadem, e.g. in depictions of the lunar goddess or Persian kings.
Seedpods to carry about:
Father Richard Rohr: The mystical gaze happens whenever, by some wondrous "coincidence," our heart space, our mind space, and our body awareness are all simultaneously open and nonresistant. I like to call it presence. It is experienced as a moment of deep inner connection, and it always pulls you, intensely satisfied, into the naked and undefended now, which can involve both profound joy and profound sadness. At that point, you either want to write poetry, pray, or be utterly silent.
William Faulkner: Whatever its symbol - cross or crescent or whatever - that symbol is man's reminder of his duty inside the human race.
Hafiz: Tell me the story about how the sun loved the moon so much he died every night to let her breathe.