• Tag Archives moon
  • Moon Over Black Mountain

    Spring                                                            Mountain Spring Moon

    1428323496098Snow last night, not much but enough to coat rooftops and give the moonshine a reflective surface in the back. The moon hung directly over Black Mountain for a couple of mornings. Here’s a fuzzy (phone) photo taken from the deck off my loft.

    An odd phenomenon with shifting my workouts to the morning. I get more work done in the morning. Then, though, the afternoon, late afternoon, seems to drag.

    This will become my reading time for work related material. Right now I’m studying germline gene therapy for Superior Wolf. I’m also reading an older historical fiction piece called The Teutonic Knights by Henryk Sienkiewicz. Written in 1900 it is a great read. Sienkiewicz was prolific, author of many other works of historical fiction, including Quo Vadis. The Teutonic Knights have a role to play in Superior Wolf,so that book is work related, too.

    I count Latin, writing and reading to support them as work, as I do gardening and beekeeping. Some people would count these as hobbies, especially the gardening and the beekeeping, but for me they represent the non-domestic parts of my day and have done for many years now.

    At least for me a day filled only with meals, leisure reading, volunteer activities, shopping would be lacking a contrast, the contrast provided by labor with a forward progression, aimed toward an end of some kind. As I wrote before, I’m learning to detach myself from the results of this work, but that doesn’t deflate its value. Hardly. Work remains key to a sense of agency, a sense that does not come from merely sustaining life. For me.

    Mentioning work, Kate made me a spectacular wall-hanging with vintage Colorado postcards.

  • A Sheet of Light

    Spring                                                         Bloodroot Moon

    Here’s a clip from a fascinating interview with Al Worden, command module pilot for Apollo 15*.  The interviewer identifies 7 men, all command module pilots for Apollo missions, as holding (having held) the loneliest job in the world.  Of course, it wasn’t in or on the world, but quite far away from it.  When these men were orbiting the backside of the moon, not only were they over 2,000 miles from their crew members; they were also further away from earth than any other human has ever been.

    His description of the stars from there.  That’s what got me.


    “You were a quarter of a million miles away from home though.

    Yes, you’re a long way away but the thing that most impressed me about being in lunar orbit – particularly the times when I was by myself – was that every time I came round the backside of the Moon, I got to a window where I could watch the Earthrise and that was phenomenal. And in addition to that, I got to look at the universe out there with a very different perspective and a very different way than anyone had before.

    What I found was that the number of stars was just so immense. In fact I couldn’t pick up individual stars, it was like a sheet of light. I found that fascinating because it changed my ideas about how we think about the Universe.

    There are billions of stars out there – the Milky Way galaxy that we’re in contains billions of stars, not just a few. And there are billions of galaxies out there. So what does that tell you about the Universe? That tells you we just don’t think big enough. To my mind that’s the whole purpose of the space programme, to figure out what that’s all about.”

    * from NASA Apollo 15 site

    Mission Overview

    The primary objectives assigned to the Apollo mission were as follows:

    1. to perform selenological inspections, survey and sampling of materials and surface features in a preselected area of the Hadley-Appennius region;
    2. to emplace and activate surface experiments;
    3. to evaluate the capability of the Apollo equipment to provide extended lunar surface stay time; and
    4. to conduct inflight experiments and photographic tasks from lunar orbit.

  • Yet More Loss

    Beltane                                                              Beltane Moon

    Got back from the retreat about 12:30.  Took a shower, rested a bit, then hopped in the car for Moon’s reviewal at Washburn-McCreavy in Bloomington.

    The bulk of the mourners were Chinese, the Fong family, but there were friends of Scott and of Yin who, like me, are round eyes.   A bowl of red envelopes, take one please, sat next to cards of hand-written calligraphy and a second bowl of hard candy.  An order of service for the funeral the next day had a color photograph of Moon on the cover.

    Moon lay in a casket at the end of the first hall, hands crossed over her chest, fabric work and calligraphy with her.  Next to the coffin a video played, showing pictures from Moon’s life, including one with a curly headed Yin, young and beautiful.

    Mourners wore red bands to indicate celebration of Moon’s life, though a few wore black bands to indicate her centenary; while 97 at her death, Chinese custom adds four years, so her age according to Chinese tradition was 101.

    There were the usual clots of well-wishers gathered around person they know, wandering from board to board of photographs and watching, again, the video shown in two places in a hall separate from the reviewal room itself.

    I spoke to Yin, then to Scott, said we’d talk later and left.

    When I got home, I had an e-mail from Warren that his father, Wayne, whom he had put in hospice care only Wednesday, had completed his journey.  Warren’s phrase.  Warren, referencing the end of Longfellow’s Hiawatha, said he thought his Dad might last longer, but “he was in a faster canoe.”

    These are times of transition, of change, of loss, of gathering in the lessons of a lifetime and using them for this third, last phase of our own journeys.  We knew it before the retreat and now we have fresh and poignant evidence.


  • Moon Also Rises

    Spring                                                           Beltane Moon

    The second rainy chilly day.  Perfect.  Tomorrow and Tuesday will be outside days again, planting and other things, but now I have my gas stove turned on, the study is warm and I’m going to have another day of writing, reading and watching movies.

    A friend’s mother-in-law, 97, lies at home, hospice care.  A Chinese national, born in Canton, she has created a long and active life, filled with calligraphy, gardening, cooking, writing, reading and family.

    Another friend went out and stayed the night with her yesterday.

    Moon’s decline underscores the transition for our men’s group.  Death and serious illness has become common, no longer stories of other’s lives.  Perhaps Moon, as well as any other,  shows a way to live into the Third Phase.

    She did not give up the things that made her who she was.  She stayed rooted in her tradition, yet took parts of it and made them her own and, in so doing, transformed them from things of yesterday into things of today and tomorrow.  Each of the Woolly’s have our names in Chinese courtesy of Moon.  She wrote poetry and a book of hers was published a couple of years ago by her family.

    Many were the meals at Scott’s house in which Moon added her touches to Yin’s work.  She had a quiet way, yet exuded a person who knew who she was, a person complete and whole, a real presence in the world.  No one’s cipher.

    Now Moon rises in the night sky.  She will not be forgotten.

  • A Force of Nature

    Spring                                                              Bee Hiving Moon

    In these months, when I go to bed, the full moon shines in our bedroom window.  It keeps me awake sometimes, gazing at it, feeling it, absorbing the ancient wisdom it offers.  All those prayers and hopes and wishes flung its way over the millennia.

    The last two nights the full bee hiving moon has lit up the magnolia.  Its white blossoms have begun to droop and fall away but in the glow of the moon its fire blazes up again, a quiet torch illuminating the dark.

    It’s cherry blossom time too.  One of our cherries blossomed yesterday afternoon,

    Kate has been pruning, weeding, clearing away debris as I visited the eye doc, did tours and today worked on Latin.  She’s a full gardener now with her own expertise tied to her energy, her wonderful work.  She gets a lot done.  A lot.  And always comes inside with a sense of having left it all in the orchard or the vegetable garden or among the perennials.

    Meanwhile I’ve kept glaucoma in check, showed objects related to communication and swept through 14 verses of Metamorphoses, Book III.  Work in its way, of course, but I can’t say I prosecute it with the same vigor as Kate.  She’s a force of nature, out in nature.

    Mickman’s comes on Monday to start up our irrigation system.  We need the water to support the veggies that we plant.  Especially in this drought.  On Wednesday when I went to the eye doc I stopped by Mother Earth Gardens, across from the Riverview Theatre.

    We now have four six packs of leeks, one of shallots, one of green onions and pots of rosemary, cilantro and basil.  The last couple of years I’ve started these myself, but not this year.  They won’t go in the ground until Sunday or Monday, so they can get watered right from the start.

    Lots of tasks now:  clean the air conditioner, clean out the bee hives, install our new fire pit, cut down a few trees that impinge on other activities.  Some of them involve the chainsaw, so I’m happy.


  • Step Outside

    Spring                                                    Bee Hiving Moon

    Boy, have you caught the sliver moon with Venus above it and Jupiter below?  Soon there will be tulips and crocus and snow drops.  The magnolia already lights up our patio.  A soft torch of white burning quietly.  Round Lake just a quarter mile from our house looks great right at sunset and in the dark with stars and the moon reflecting in it.

    The climate may be playing havoc with the seasons but the inescapable beauty of the natural world remains.

    Keats may have stretched it a bit, but not too far.  Truth is beauty.

    The good news here is that no .5%’er will ever corner the market on sliver moons or magnolia blossoms or reflections in that pond near your house.  These, the original art works, the masterpieces of our everyday world, belong to the commons.  All we have to do is step outside.

  • A Puzzle

    Winter                                 First Moon of the New Year

    Here’s a puzzle.  Tuesday night is trash night here in Kadlec Estates so I trundled out both the regular trash and the recycling.

    The moon, at about 3/4’s full, was there, the lesser lamp, but the greater in aesthetic impact; Orion had risen in the eastern sky, now his usual upright self after his disturbing Southern Hemisphere headstand; and, there, on the western patch of lawn, the portion that abuts the driveway and goes down to the street, were regular bare patches, about 6-8 inches wide, then a much broader band of icy snow, a pattern that repeated several times as the yard slopes up toward the garage.

    What could cause such regularity?  Baffles me.

    Soon I’ll have several more chunks of photographs posted about the cruise at www.ancientoftrails.tumblr.com .  Going through them brought back a lot of the trip, its diverse geography, flora and fauna.  This trip will take a long time to settle in.  My eventual goal is to post my ancientrails entries in tandem with the photographs, but that may not happen for months.

  • Sheer Lunacy

    Winter                                   First Moon of the New Year

    What a moon tonight, full and low in the northeastern sky, that golden tan color just before twilight.  It hung there, as Kate said, as if someone had taken a photograph of a beautiful moon and cut and pasted it onto the sky.

    (sadly, this photograph doesn’t do it justice, but it was splendid.)

    There is no heavenly phenomenon that gives me more moments of sublime beauty, more catch my heart moving moments, more stand still and stare moments than the moon.  A crescent moon with Jupiter in its arms.  A full moon shining on new fallen snow.  A half moon sending shadows down from tomato plants and iris.  That full moon in the first month back on campus.  A sweaty moon pushing lambent light through a hot and humid night, crickets chirping and lightning bugs flashing.

    A moon standing high in the sky with the aurora borealis behind it.  A moon reflected and shaken by ripples in a still pond.  Koi pecking at the image.

    I remember a moon one night, north of Ely in the Boundary Waters.  It was January and my week long class on the timber wolf had driven out to an opening in the woods.  We howled into the darkness, trying to get the wolves to howl back.  The full moon that night.  It said lunacy.

  • A Beautiful Moon

    Lughnasa                                                                 Full Honey Extraction Moon

    The moon.  Tonight.  A darkening sky, blue behind the openings in the clouds and peeking out from behind a modest veil, a full Honey Extraction Moon, its color a silvered gold, honey-like and mysterious.  I love the surprise of a beautiful moon in the sky, looking out on a familiar horizon to see it transformed by the ordinary extraordinary moon.  The moons from now through the end of the year often have a wow factor.  The Harvest Moon.  The Thanksgiving moon rising over stubbled fields coated with snow.  The Winter Solstice moon, sending lambent light onto the snow, casting faint shadows of trees, houses, people.

    This moon shone in the eastern sky as I returned from Tai Chi.  This was the 20th week and the teacher, Cheryl, announced, again, that we were close to a third of the way through the form.  “It’s a milestone,” said Cliff, a 13 year practitioner.  A third of the way through.  20 weeks.  At this pace it will be a year before we have worked our way through the whole form.  Being patient with myself.  Learning that in this class.

    At points now I feel a grace coming into my motions, a fluidity beyond learning the choreography, beginning to make it mine, to work from the inside out rather than the outside only.  Not often.  But I have felt it.

    Thought about Cliff, a younger guy, maybe in his forties, having practiced 13 years.  Realized I’ll be 77 by the time I hit 13 years.  Whoa.

  • Pale Shadows

    Winter                                                             Full Moon of the Cold Month

    “Even the smallest victory is never to be taken for granted. Each victory must be applauded, because it is so easy not to battle at all, to just accept and call that acceptance inevitable.” – Audre Lorde

    This full moon, out in a cloudless night sky, cast long shadows onto the snow, pale threads of maple trees, birch, oak, lying dark amidst the luminous reflections.  These midwinter full moons have an especially lonely feel, as if the world they illuminate were devoid of animal life and the plants, all the plants have stopped growing, resting now, unconscious perhaps, perhaps unaware of the moon at all, only dumb branches and trunks casting shades of themselves into this quiet world.

    There are days, nights, too, when I feel as if the full moons of these midwinter months inhabit my mind, where my thoughts can only produce pale shadows of themselves, the shades of ideas, not the full, living, breathing concept, but one quiet, moonlit and small.

    Tour this morning with Hamline philosophy of art students, seniors.  It was all right.  We traveled with the expressionists while they rejected impressionism and the camera, used colors and shape and line and flatness instead, pushing inside, painting the heart and the mind, regions not accessible to the senses or photographic techniques.   The kids themselves, all seniors, seemed a bit dull to me, misshapen and doughy, indifferent to their own learning.  This saddened me, made me wonder what’s happening on college campuses these days.  Is life so barren?  To be sure there were the two girls, young women, who gamely noticed Matisse’s color scheme, Rouault’s thick shapes, the flatness of Bacon’s canvas.  Perhaps it was the formal analytical method that we used, a nod to the class.  It was a substantive tour, but it seemed uninspired and uninspiring.