A week ago there was a lovely full moonrise. I stood by the lake and waited for the moon to clear the hill and the trees on the opposite shoreline. The wind slowly settled down, and there was a lovely quiet that wrapped around me. The waves calmed and the lake became still. Then the moon appeared – large and pearl colored, and as it rose it seemed that the tops of the trees were supporting it and offering it up to the night sky. I watched and then my ears picked up the haunting call of a loon at the other end of the lake. It all seemed a perfect rite of spring, and I savored this respite from the many worries of the world right now.
The cold has settled in and the lakes are freezing. Throughout the day I watched the clouds and the snow move in. The wind would pick up and blow the snow down the lake, forming whirlwinds of white skimming the ice. As quickly as the snow came in, then the sun would come out. The ice would creak and moan as the heat from the sun combatted the cold of the ice. There were sub-sonic groans that pierced the air. And then the cycle would repeat – snow then sun then snow. But before sunset the skies cleared and there was a beautiful and quiet full moonrise. It lifted over the opposite shore and trees and eventually directed its light on the snow-covered and ice-cracked lake, littered with leaves now encased in the ice.
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.
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.
Last 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.