This past week there was a full moonrise – the strawberry moon, as it’s called.  Although I can’t attest to seeing a strawberry tint where I was, the moonrise was beautiful.  The sun had set, the wind had stilled, and the night air held the warmth and humidity of the day.  Slowly the moon rose above the trees on the opposite shore, clearing them and throwing its reflection into the lake below.  If you listened for awhile you could hear the cry of a loon.  And in the grasses by the side of the lake, the fireflies started to blink.  It was a beautiful night — just the kind we dream of during the bitter cold of winter.

Advertisements

The sun had just set, and the twilight was slowly diminishing.  On the opposite shore of the lake, the full moon rose quietly.  It gracefully cleared the trees and its light sent a column of brightness across the ice.  The weather has been unusually warm so the ice was not solid and clear.  The moon’s light showed the imperfections of the ice, along with the leaves that have been embedded during the colder nights.  It was a beautiful study of light, patterns, hardness and softness.

Full moonrise 10917_StaatsLast weekend’s super moon and lunar eclipse was an event followed by many people.  I found myself in the agricultural fields of the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota at the time of the moonrise.  The weather had been glorious with warm temperatures and a southerly breeze, and as the sun set the sky remained clear.  Slowly the full moon rose on the eastern horizon, clearing the corn fields that surrounded me, accompanied by the sound of the wind rattling through the dry corn stalks.  Although I was in the middle of the city, it seemed like I was distant and not in an urban area.  But what surprised me the most, were the number of people that had come out to do the same thing I was doing.  The gravel road between the fields was lined with cars.  People were sitting in chairs or sitting in their cars, and people were walking — all there to marvel in the size of this full moon and then to observe the lunar eclipse.  Another 18 years is a long time until the next event like this, hence the urgency for many of us to enjoy it this time.

Full moonrise Gig Harbor_2185 StaatsTen years ago on July 31st, I invited a man from Saint Paul, Minnesota to a tour of the Tacoma, Washington area where I was living.  We spent the day talking and sharing while walking along Commencement Bay and exploring Wright Park and Point Defiance Park.  It was a beautiful summer’s day and we became good friends and learned much about each other.  As the day was coming to an end, I suggested we go to Gig Harbor and enjoy the full moon-rise over Mount Rainier.  It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.  Fast forward ten years, and I invite him to dinner to celebrate that first date in 2005.  It’s another beautiful summer’s evening, with dinner on a patio in Saint Paul accompanied by yet another full moonrise only this one is more rare being a blue moon.    Between dinner and dessert, this same man from ten years ago asked how the evening could be more memorable, and then got down on his knee and asked me to marry him.  In these ten years we’ve shared joys and sorrows, births and deaths, and life’s share of ups and downs.  We both appreciate all we’ve been through and the love we share.  It was easy to answer his question with a “yes.”

July's full moonrise_StaatsYesterday was the full moon of July.  I’d heard it referred to as the “supermoon” – appearing immense in size due to its proximity to the earth.  As rainstorms moved into the area in the afternoon, I had given up any hope of seeing the moonrise.  But the clouds parted and the skies cleared about 6:00pm.  We had gone out for a night of fishing (which was not so weather-dependent), yet we lucked out in so many ways.  The fish were biting, the sunset was beautiful, and it was quickly followed by the rising of the pink full moon.  It cleared the trees on the east side of the lake, and let its reflection glisten in the still water below.  For a short while it hung in the sky between the trees and the upper clouds, then quickly slid out of sight into the clouds.  We stayed on the water for another half hour, and as we headed to the landing the moon cleared the clouds again, this time shining clear and white.

With delightful autumn weather forecast for the day, we headed out before sunrise this morning to Wild River State Park.  This Minnesota park is north of the Twin Cities and is located on the St. Croix River. Although there was the promise of afternoon temps in the upper 70’s, the morning had a cool feel to it.  We drove down to the canoe landing on the river and could see the fingers of fog stretching into the air and creating a veil over the fall colors on the Wisconsin shoreline.  As we turned the opposite direction facing away from the river, we were greeted by the full moon as it was making its way behind the hillside.  The prairie stretched out before us filled with golden grasses;  the birdhouses were empty at this early time of the morning.  The hillside was brilliant with the colors of fall – golds, oranges, reds – all in a hush before the sunlight brought them out into a blaze of bright color.  Silently we watched the moon descend behind the hill and turned our attentions back to the river, accompanied by the geese and the ducks that were flying by.

Every two and half years or so we are treated to a blue moon – the second full moon in one month.  With relatively clear skies last Friday night we headed to a nearby lake to enjoy a picnic on the shore and watch for the moonrise.  We were joined by a large group of children trying their luck fishing as well as a number of people out bicycling or walking  –  all enjoying the evening.  As luck would have it, a bank of low clouds was hovering on the east horizon, and the moon was hardly visible as it first slipped over the lake.  But as it continued its rise in the sky it cleared the clouds and shone brightly, reflecting in the water below, and lighting the path for this sailboat as it made its way back to the marina.  A beautiful night and a wonderful way to bring a close to the end of August.