I am a woman obsessed. Right now I’m obsessed with waiting for the moon to rise. With the sun having sunk, outside is just a bit too chilly for the waiting, so I’m perched at the edge of my bed, facing the eastern window, wondering which peak or pine the moon will choose for its unveiling this full-moon eve.
Far upvalley sunlight lingers on rimrocks of Dakota Sandstone, dusting them pink. Beyond, snow-covered Groundhog Mountain turns a different shade of pink. Snow-pink, sandstone-pink—evenings here are chameleon, taking on the colors stars and planets give them. The hills that glare with thirst during the day have softened, pale sage green becoming them, darker green juniper and dying orange juniper offering texture. Earth’s shadow rises, and layers of color rim the world: blue-lavender lifting to smoke-orange to the palest yellow to almost white and then blue again, the sky directly above holding the last breath of daylight. Still the moon does not rise.
But it will. Tonight and tomorrow and on and on, with or without coronavirus and climate change, fires and drought, death and despair, birth and beauty, junipers succumbing to intolerable conditions, people, too, the moon will come.
And there it is!
Lifting behind the hill north of Groundhog Mountain, round and bright, a yellow bulb of light probing soft layered colors, its luminescence turning them darker as it rises slowly, faster, then peaking, free and whole and full and there, thank the gods, hanging in the eastern sky as it brightens this night, this heart.
With each day gifts arrive in their myriad forms—a phone call from family, my sons; a new, wet calf wobbling to its feet for the first time; sunshine on winter-tired skin; writers sharing words and sometimes voices online; the moon.
While I struggle with internal cloudiness and turn obsessively each morning to the harsh truths of the New York Times “Morning Briefing,” and at night to the comfort of The West Wing (at a yard sale several years ago I bought the entire collection of DVDs for ten bucks), I force myself to pause my obsessions over numbers in counties and states and the world to notice something good. Like watching The West Wing. Like watching the moon rise, again.
The sky behind the moon has turned the deepest blue. A depth of blue, my mother says of the sea far from any land. Until blue eyes came to Hawai`i, Hawaiians had no word for blue. The ocean is uliuli, dark, dark.
The moon is mahina. Mahina rising.
Mahalo! These photos of TJ’s are amazing!
Your words are beautiful, detailed, poetic; my words trying to describe yours simply pale in comparison. Capital W Writer to be sure.
No need to compare our words–I’m just doing what I do. Mahalo for reading.
Stunning. Such a good reminder that we need to see the beauty in the world – not just the sadness and despair.
Hey, Song Dog, thank you! Sometimes it takes a village of artists to raise the spirit, sometimes just a look outside.
How exquisitely beautiful, Kat. You photos are balm on the battered soul.
Thank you, Erica! The photos were taken by my friend TJ Holmes, who lives out here in Disappointment Valley and has been documenting the mustangs in Spring Creek Basin for many years.
You really do have it, Kat. Simply great. And the photos are beyond belief!
Thank you so much, Aunt Nat! My love of the natural world came from my mother and you–you know that, right?
The April moon has been beautiful in Central Alabama too, though it is often obscured by trees and dark night clouds. How I miss the high desert sometimes! These days I am wondering if I will ever see it again. Thank you, Kat, for your beautiful words and T.J’s magnificent photos