The Muse :: Issue Twenty :: April 2014 :: Blood Moon

The Muse

Did you see the blood moon last night?

We posted a nice little graphic about it on our Mayan Calendar Facebook page and it went viral. 442 likes and 242 shares within 32 minutes of posting. Sixteen hours later, 1,955 likes, 1,005 shares, 50+ comments.

People all over the world sent in their photos and experiences of the eclipse. This is the real magic of having a massive social network. It's not about meta data, monetizing, or ranks. It's about community. About feeling like you can reach out and talk face to face with the person in New Zealand who just posted their photo of the eclipse, or the one just a few towns over.

And despite the fact that I'd worked till 1 am the night before and was falling heavily asleep at 11pm, I pushed through, fired up my Canon camera, popped out the screen in my office window, and cranked the tripod at an angle it wasn't designed for. For the next hour I watched in awe as the shadow of our planet spread across the great silver disk in the sky I'd watched since I was a little girl.

Celestial events somehow make me feel closer to Earth. They give you perspective. A benchmark. A reminder the world revolves around its own axis, not ours, and that it, too, is a part of a greater cosmic ecosystem.

There is nothing cozier than the night, with you alone in it.

~ Birgitte

A few days ago, I received a gift. It was an email from an organization in the Petén, Guatemala, I'd been working with throughout the writing of my novel about the history of cacao. The story takes place in northern Guatemala near Tikal; the Maya characters speak Itzà Maya, a language that is unfortunately disappearing.

The director of the organization personally translated the dialogue spoken by the characters into Itzà Maya. This was the document that now sat in my Inbox, waiting to be opened.

When I saw the words on my screen, my heart ached. I was looking at an ancient Maya tongue, a language born centuries before my time, a language spoken by the people who ruled some of the greatest Maya cities of Central America, a legendary people whose myths I have had the humble privilege to weave into this book that's about to be published.

And I said to myself, by God I'm going to help keep this language alive.

Kids, and Parents of Kids, mark your calendars! On Saturday, May 10, I'm presenting a short program titled "The Story of Chocolate" at Hidden Villa, an organic farm and educational non profit organization in Los Altos Hills.

We'll learn about the history of cacao which dates back 3500 years, have a cacao treasure hunt, and end with a chocolate/fresh fruit fondue. Can you think of a better way for your kids to spend the day before Mother's Day?

For children ages 7-11. For more information and to register, visit the Hidden Villa events page — scroll down to May 10.

In the last issue of The Muse I mentioned I was serving as a "member of the press" for simulated international policy negotiations organized by the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Through March and April, I participated in a total of eleven conferences, playing the role of a journalist specializing in the areas of Climate Change and World Health.

This program was especially designed for at-risk students, to expose them to opportunities and career options they might otherwise not be able to consider. I'm all for that.

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