Supermoons and Superstars – Where is the wonder?

Last Tuesday night I had a bit of a ‘WOW’ moment when I saw the remarkably large and brightly glowing moon, and the following morning as I was driving to work I struggled to keep my eyes on the road as they kept straying up to the sky to examine the unusually clear contours and craters on the moon’s surface. Staring up at that small grey circle in our big blue dome, the thought that it was a huge spherical satellite – or perhaps a giant egg, as the latest episode of Doctor Who would have it – was hard to grasp, while the idea that people have actually walked on the moon is utterly incredible (to the point, in fact, that conspiracy theorists claim that it never happened).

Looking at how to design a rocket at a museum as a child

I never did build that rocket… though I did keep the fascination with astronomy.

As it turned out it wasn’t officially a supermoon, or a perigee full moon to use its scientific name, though we did have three of those this summer: 12th July, 10th August, 9th September. Super or not, the moon, the stars, the universe – it’s all pretty awe-inspiring if you start to think about it. But it’s so rare that you really do think about it. Just as we were more open to adventure when we were younger, so too were we more open to wonder and awe. Children will ask, and talk, and stare in fascination at things that we as adults find perfectly mundane and uninteresting.

One of the reasons why it’s so rare that we look up to the skies and philosophise is that we’re occupied with our unbelievably busy lives, our important to-do lists and our back-to-back appointments. Earlier this year I bought a book on the 2014 night sky (for £1 from a charity shop, but still) and it remains untouched on my bookshelf.

Another reason is that we usually can’t see much to wonder at, at least in the big cities, due to light pollution. Take a look at French photographer Thierry Cohen’s Darkened Cities and you’ll begin to imagine what we could see without all those artificial lights. How anyone got anything done when the sky looked like that before electrical lighting is beyond me.

If we finally do get to be in a place where we have the time, the remoteness, not to mention the clear weather, to marvel at the stars above, you would think that it should all be incredibly romantic. These days, though, it’s likely to come across as cheesy if a poor guy starts talking to you about the wonders of the universe. I caught the end of an episode of Don’t Tell the Bride over the weekend in which the groom was fascinated by space – but instead of being romantic or at least interesting, he came across as (at least partly self-confessed) geeky and a bit of a nut.

So I say keep wondering, keep looking up, and keep remembering how utterly miraculous and beautiful is each and every thing on earth and in the blackness above.

Right, I’m off to learn the remaining 80 or so constellations (out of 88) that I don’t know yet – then I can tick that off my bucket list, as well as impressing the next person who happens to be standing next to me on a starry, starry night….

Another birthday, another show

Young Anna on a path

And so another year has passed, the fastest yet. Is this how it’s going to be now, each year passing more quickly, as we race towards middle, and ultimately old, age? The fact is that a year is no longer a large and significant portion of my life. A year is one of many that […]

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Fearless Fridays: From law to TV drama

Deanne on set at Eastenders

Another month, another inspirational career change story! Deanne studied law at a prestigious university and landed a job at an international law firm with time over in Japan. Sounds like a dream opportunity, but it didn’t feel right… It’s difficult to decide on a calling at just 18, and hard to know what a job will actually be […]

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Politics, values, and what’s important

Anna Lundberg profile picture

While everyone in the UK has been talking about Scotland since last week’s ‘No’ to independence, Sweden is still shaking from an election outcome that had the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) voted as the country’s third largest party. With individual candidates spouting racist remarks and being caught wearing swastikas, the party itself is at minimum […]

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Adventure is out there: Wild camping north of the M25

Tiny island

I feel like I used to be more adventurous than I am now. I tried windsurfing and waterskiing on holidays with my parents. As a teenager, I did hiking, caving, white water rafting and kayaking… I went skydiving and even completed the A J Hackett trilogy of bungee jumps including New Zealand’s highest, Nevis, from […]

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The selfie that broke my iPhone

Selfie in the rain

It’s all very embarrassing. There I was, feeling virtuous for venturing out on Bank Holiday Monday despite the rain. I made it all the way to Starbucks, where I remained as the drizzle turned to a torrential downpour. Several hours, two lattes, and a salad later, though, I felt it was time to go home. […]

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Fearless Fridays: From teaching to inspiring creativity in the local community

wayne-cullum

This month, I’ve been talking to Wayne Cullum about his experience of leaving his teaching job behind to set up an art and soft play space in his local area. As Wayne soon discovered, starting your own business requires a whole range of skills and tasks beyond the business idea itself, in his case involving […]

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Ice buckets, donating and Doing Good

anna-africa

This week, our newsfeeds have been flooded with videos of friends and stars alike participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge. The campaign has raised a lot of awareness, a lot of money, and a lot of questions as to whether or not it’s actually doing good. It’s unclear where the ALS campaign originated, much like the […]

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Reason over Passion: Confessions of a cold fish?

fish-sign-peru

The other day, I watched a Ted talk by Isabel Allende about passion. I also went to the cinema and saw 1,000 Times Good Night, in which Juliette Binoche’s character is so passionate about her calling that she abandons her children in order to pursue it. And on the plane I sat next to a […]

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The Story of Your Life – Would you read it?

panamericana, pan-american highway

In one of the many insightful posts my friends are sharing on Facebook, I recently found this thought starter: “If someone came up to you and handed you a book and you started reading it and you realised it was a book about your entire life – would you read it until the end?” Apart […]

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