Moon, stars, and the wonder of creation– Musings and prayers

“O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
                                                            Psalm 8:1, 3-5, 9

God reveals his glory in all of his creation, and this coming week I will be reveling in the glory of creation as I spend time on the Maine coast. We’re close to a new moon, when the sky is dark, with stars  unobscured by moonlight, so, weather permitting, I am planning to go to a location with no lights and stand in wonder under a dazzling canopy of stars.

With an abundance of natural beauty all around me, I’ll be pondering the magnitude and splendor of the universe and what that says to me of the God who created it all. I hope you will also be able to make time to go outside some clear night to look at the stars and meditate on what they reveal of our great God. Here is the url for a website that puts the size of Earth in perspective with the rest of the Universe-

Monday: Ask God to open your eyes and your mind to what he is telling you through the world he created. Slow down long enough to look about you and savor some aspect of creation.

Tuesday: Take some time today to consider the vastness of creation. What does it tell us of God’s power? Praise God for his creation and for what it reveals to you of who he is.

Wednesday: Meditate today on the wonder of God’s love for us, small as we are in the world he has made. What does that reveal to you of your worth to God? Let’s carry that thought with us throughout the day today.

Thursday: Think of the many peoples of the world who are treated as though they have no value or honor for any of a variety of reasons. Ask God what you can do as an individual to make a difference in some small way. What can you do to help the people you encounter on a daily basis have a better sense of their inherent value?

Friday: Recently I’ve been stepping outside several times a day on overly busy or stressful days to simply focus on the sun shining on treetops, or dewdrops sparkling on morning grass, or on stars watching over the earth at bedtime. Doing this has calmed me and has often helped me regain perspective on who God is and who I am. Think about how you can plan in some intentional moments of creation observation today and in the coming days.

Saturday: Let’s wrap this week up by looking for things great and small in creation that fill us with wonder and awe at God’s greatness. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Full moon sketch
Night sky sketch


Moonlight Bright…

I opened my eyes to see moonlight splashed bright across my warm comforter, then turned to see the clock – 3:00AM . I snuggled into my pillow, pulled up the comforter crisscrossed by clear lines of light and shadow from windowpanes and mullions, and closed my eyes, but it was no use. The brightness of the moon had danced into my mind and now called to me, insisting I join her.

I slipped quietly from bed, slid into muck shoes and a fleece, and, taking Petra with me, stepped silently out into the light of night. Frosty grass sparkled, bright beside deep shadows of trees crossing the yard. The moon, full round and white, hung in the southern sky, obscuring nearly all stars around her. To the north I could make out the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia, but most stars had yielded to the brilliance of the moon.

All was still. Not a sound, not a breath of wind. Just the world in black and white and shades of gray, with the fresh tang of frost fully awakening my spirit. Alert, I thought to walk, but I sensed that, like all nature around, I had to be still. And so I stood, Petra silent beside me, moonlight falling bright on us, shadows long behind us, filling my soul, calming my being.

Full Moon Over Pond

This painting, “Full Moon,” is currently featured in my Etsy shop.

More Sketches from Acadia National Park

Back home now (I got home a week ago), I am still putting finishing touches on some paintings, as well as getting back into the routine of life at home. Actually, I should say that I am working on developing a new routine for life at home. During my time away I had lots of time to think and evaluate how I do things on a daily basis, and I realized that, much as I have valued quiet time and solitude, I haven’t done a great job of consistently living with a peaceful rhythm to my days. Somehow the demands of life in an overly connected world, along with the alluring draw of the internet have resulted in a feeling of being scattered and constantly available and pulled in several directions at once. While at Acadia National Park, I had no cell signal (what a blessing!) and, as a result, I found that I was more focused in a relaxed way that caused me to be much more “present” with myself and my environment. So now I am working on incorporating some of the lessons I learned, so that I can live with a peaceful rhythm even as I am connected and involved with the world and people around me. I haven’t gotten it all figured out yet, but I am hoping to make progress.

Here are some of my sketches from my time away. I have still more that I will post sketches in another few days. I’ve also posted some of my finished watercolors on my website (Melissa Fischer’s Art ). If you click on the images, you’ll be able to see them large enough to read my notes.)

Gannets diving
Maine coast rocks

Otter sketches

Predawn Planets

This week the sky has been magnificent every morning before dawn! I’ve been walking on my deck and watching the sky from early enough for a deep, dark star-besprent sky until the sun is well up and the day is bright. The planets Venus, Mars, and Jupiter have been putting on a brilliant show, and I’ve been watching to see the exact time they each fade from view as the bright light of the sun spreads across the sky. I’ve written about those times in the notes that follow, but today I did not note the time that Venus faded from view as the sun rose. That’s because Venus was so bright today that she was even visible at 10:00 this morning, with the sun high and bright! I had not realized before that Venus is bright enough to be seen even in strong daylight under the right conditions.

(If you click on the images, you’ll be able to see them large enough to read my notes.)

Moon, Venus, Jupiter sketch


Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter sketch


The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
                                            Psalm 19:1-2

Blood Moon (Lunar Eclipse October 2014)

(I just realized I’d never published this post, so here it is, out of order and much later than the actual event, but the sketches were done while watching the eclipse that day.)

Yesterday morning I woke up earlier than I had intended, at 3:15, and was so excited about the eclipse I couldn’t go back to sleep, even though the eclipse wasn’t starting until 5:15. It had been pouring earlier in the night (we got an inch of rain in the earlier part of the night), but the clouds were starting to clear away by the time I padded onto the deck in my bare feet.

I watched from my deck until the moon was too low behind the trees, then I drove to a nearby hill and watched until just before sunrise, when I could no longer see the moon (which was about to set by then). I ran out of space on my page toward the end, so just took notes then. It was an awesome sight!


Total Lunar Eclipse October 2014

I woke up early, 3:15am, and was instantly wide awake. There was going to be a total lunar eclipse, and I wanted to be sure to see it. I knew the eclipse wasn’t starting until 5:15, and I knew I should go back to sleep until then, but I was too full of anticipation to return to sleep. I was also worried about the weather, not that worry accomplishes anything, and not that I have any control over the weather, worried or not. It had been pouring a few hours earlier (we got an inch of rain in the earlier part of the
night), but, to my relief, the clouds were starting to clear away by the time I padded
onto the damp deck in my bare feet. The moon was hanging round and bright in the sky just above the trees to the west of our house, with silvery clouds scudding to the east. No sign of earth’s dark shadow crossing the moon yet, so I went back inside to make some tea and start a pot of oatmeal cooking.

After frequent checks to be sure the clouds were indeed departing (perhaps by wishing I could make them leave faster?), at 5:10 I settled into my camp chair on the deck, sketchbook in hand, with nickel-sized circles drawn down the page. There were still a few clouds, but they mostly stayed out of the way. As I watched, a small bite disappeared from the upper left of the moon. Over the minutes the small bite became a steadily growing, curved shadow. (Later I read that that curve, which is cast by the curved surface of the earth, was some of the earliest evidence that the earth is round, not flat).

I watched in silence and marveled at the silence. Not that the night was silent– crickets chirped, leaves rustled in the breeze, the muffled sounds of distant traffic filtered through the woods– but the tremendous event in the sky transpired in silence. Of course that is always the case, but watching the earth’s shadow overtake the moon and knowing the immensity of these celestial bodies, it struck me anew how mighty they are. And yet, they move and interact in silence, so easy to miss if one isn’t watching.

I watched and sketched from my deck
until the moon was too low behind the trees, then I drove to a nearby
hill and watched until just before sunrise, when I could no longer see
the moon (which was about to set by then). I ran out of space on my page
toward the end, so just took notes of the final stages before the sun rose– next time I will use a larger sketchbook.

I’ve seen total eclipses of the moon before, and every time I am filled with wonder and delight. It was well worth having a short night; I hope I never sleep through such an amazing sight and never lose my sense of awe at witnessing these celestial events.