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Entries in moon (4)

Wednesday
Jan112012

Gardening by Moonlight

The Farmer's Almanac (and my favorite gardeners) say to plant seeds while the moon is waxing.  Planting them at night is optional.  The thinking is that just as the moon controls the tides, it shifts the way the water moves through the soil.  Seeds are thought to absorb more water as the moon grows full, and to grow into healthier plants.

My mom is one of those gardeners, the keeper of the greenest thumb I know and an expert in nurture.  It occurs to me that she has become highly attuned to fertile ground.  For Christmas, my mom gave me the audio book of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way.  She knew I was feeling overwhelmed, so she assured me that it's a very affirmative listen even if you're not actually doing the 12-week program Cameron lays out in the book.  She also knows that I'm a sucker for a good idea, especially when it is presented at the right time.  So it probably came as no surprise to her when I called home saying I want to do those morning pages.  That's in the category of cultivate, for sure.

The practice is to write three pages of stream-of-consciousness each morning.  It can be dull, fragmented, repetitive, but the idea seems to be to get the gunk out of your system and onto paper first thing each day. You're not even really supposed to go back and read the writing, at least for the first couple of months.  (For those keeping count, this would bring my list of morning practices to morning pages, meditate, run.  I'm not clear on what order those things should happen or how early I would need to get up in order to make them happen before Ezra wakes.  I'm trying not to think about that, or to acknowledge how much the running part of the balance has fallen off the program.)

Funnily, my mom gave me The Artist's Way about 15 years ago, and I remember reading it and thinking You have to write THREE PAGES? EVERY SINGLE DAY?  There is NO WAY I would ever do that.  That's just crazy.  I was young and dumb enthusiastic and drunk free, and too busy creating a reasonable facsimile of adulthood to consider whether I had anything else to create.

So here is a seed I planted in the dark as the moon grew fuller last week: a notebook, a good pen, and all the petty and banal thoughts and feelings that live inside me but don't deserve to see the light of day.  I never thought that would feel like a luxury, but this week it does.  I don't know quite what I'm cultivating with this, but it feels a little bit like throwing down a handful of mixed wildflower seeds.  It'll be interesting, as the seasons change, to see just what takes root.  Maybe something will even bloom.

Monday
Dec122011

How to Disappear Completely

I wake early and slip as silently as possible out of bed, quietly gathering clothes and camera gear and making my way to a neighborhood park to shoot the eclipse. It is completely dark and very cold when I pull up to the edge of the lake and the shadow is only beginning to show on the upper edge of the moon. It is also very comfortable in the car and as the seat warmers kick in I decide I can wait until the eclipse gets a little further along to set up my shot. After a few minutes I turn off the radio and sit there in silence, watching the shadow slowly slowly eat the moon.

Last weekend I was Skyping with a friend who asked me if I get much alone time. Um, my commute, I noted a little more bitterly than I intended. Three-year-olds, husbands, and work collaborators seem to demand a lot of attention.

People start pulling up to the lake, getting out to watch the moon.

Commute. Alone. If I'm going to insist on being one of those wasteful Americans in my gas-guzzling car driving to work by myself, maybe I should take advantage of the chance to be alone.  I noticed this last week and resisted the habit of making phone calls on the way to work.  Quiet.

Long lenses and tripods begin to populate the lakeshore.  Orange creeps into the eastern sky behind me.  In the car I am alone.

I sit for an hour and a half. The eclipse is so gradual but somehow the moon becomes a sliver suddenly, and it's sinking toward the mountains fast. I came here to take a picture - the third month in a row I have tried in vain to shoot the full moon - but by the time I get the tripod out of the car I don't have time to find the right place to set up or frame the shot the way I'd imagined.

It's strange that you can race through life at such a pace as to approach terminal velocity, but when you do sit you can totally lose track of the urge to move at all.

In the end, I only fired a couple frames of the eclipse. Immediately after it sunk behind the mountains I had to fight off regret for not trying harder to get the shot. Missed opportunity! What was I thinking?! It's not the shot I came here to make!

But the warmth. The quiet. The shadows. The light.

Invisible.

Peace.

Tuesday
Aug162011

Sky Gazer

308.365 50mm f2.5 1/160 ISO 200Come see the full light moon, Papa, Ezra said as he pulled my stepdad away from the dinner table and toward the backyard where the full moon was rising over the trees and the powerlines.  One wayward cloud, backlit in silver, lay over the big round moon.

Later I looked out on the backporch and saw Ezra and my stepdad, sitting quietly side-by-side as at a movie theater, staring up at the sky.  The cloud broke the moon, Papa.

We should put that cloud in time out.  How are we going to get that cloud?

Need to go to the garage and get the ladder, Ezra said, making a move toward the door.

What if we just do it in our imagination?

So in their imaginations they pulled a ladder up, got a rope (or maybe a fishing pole) and pulled that cloud in, corralling it in the garage where it could be made to consider its transgressions in breaking the moon. 

I looked out at the full moon later and saw it hanging over a field, not a cloud in sight.

Thursday
Feb172011

Almost Full

128.365 145mm f5 1/400 ISO 200

Maybe it's because when we come out Ezra's school in the evening he always asks Where moon go?  Or maybe it's because one of our current go-to bedtime books is about an old woman who fishes at night because she's hoping to hook the moon and convince him to chill out on the tidal action that is gobbling up her seaside home.  Or maybe it's because after two days of shooting closeup things in inadequate light inside, I was thrilled to see this face show up with some daylight left.

In any event, this big, beautiful moon looked like a giant ball of Roquefort hanging in the sky and I just wanted to eat it all up, or soak it all in.  Either way, she was welcome.