Look up. It is in the darkness of night that the moon and stars become brilliant. The soft blues and stunning oranges and reds of sunrise and sunsets often make us stop in our tracks, take slower breaths, and marvel at the glory and beauty above us. But what about the darkness? Ah ~ that beautiful darkness far away from streetlights and cities where the moon beams bathe the earth in the softest glow.
First full moon of 2017
A few clouds drifting across the full moon
Full moon view through clouds & trees
Tonight a few wispy clouds lingered close to the rising moon, a brief embrace of sorts before floating away on the breeze. Westward, stars are more visible – even Mars and Neptune are keeping watch over all that moves tonight – but my focus remains in the eastern sky as the moon slowly makes it’s way higher.
Perhaps in summer there would be owls chatting or whippoorwills calling through trees, but on this night the winds carry a chorus of yips and high barks from coyotes in the surrounding woods. Somehow that seems appropriate as we welcome once again this “Wolf Moon” of January. ~ Peace ~
“And at the eventide, again may we give thanks unto Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Gelasian Sacramentary A.D. 494)
‘Tis a lovely evening following a dreary day here in this corner of the globe. The moon, this super moon as it’s called, has risen. Clouds have dispersed and the unmistakable scent of a wood fire is drifting on the cold November night breeze. Coyotes are calling from the woods to the north, joining the frogs and crickets in the music of the night, perhaps competing with the area doggies to see who can bark or yip or howl the longest.
It is not a still night, it is not a silent night,
but it is a beautiful night.
Monday is softly slipping away, but before it passes completely, I pick up my grandfather’s old prayer book and read for tonight:
“….Grant that in us, short-lived, vexed with cares, hungry, thirsty, dying, the Spirit of God may so come and so dwell, that the beauty of the Lord may be upon us…..”
And looking up ~ I do believe it is.
Goodnight, Sleep Well & Sweet Dreams.
(Prayer Information: Tileston, Mary Wilder. Prayers Ancient and Modern. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1928)
My life has a soundtrack, and the baseline is the crashing of Atlantic waves keeping time with my own heartbeat. Now, I don’t live at the beach….yet….but there’s something deep inside me that needs time at the water’s edge. More than a recharge, the ocean is where I go to actually re-set. In light of the recent storms, I’d like to share some photos of calmer times along the coastline; a reminder, perhaps, of the beauty that returns to the ocean once the storms have passed.
Every sunrise is beautiful in its own right, an awakening of possibilities of a new day; but a sunrise over the ocean is a masterpiece of light shattering the darkness. My favorite beaches are south-facing, which means the sun rises and sets over the water. Spectacular views all day long.
This sunrise was from a few weeks back as I stepped out alone onto the sand at Topsail Island, NC. Aside from a few sandpipers, pelicans and gulls, I had the whole strand to myself for at least half an hour. The night sky gave way to the most brilliant gold, red and orange hues as the sun slowly rose above the horizon. Waves rolled in and crashed upon the cold morning sand as if waving good morning to anyone who ventured nearby.
This past weekend, Labor Day Weekend, found me at the edge of the ocean once again. Tropical Storm Hermine made her presence known along the eastern seaboard, certainly, but did not linger at Oak Island, NC.
Watching the sunrise across the tall dunes
Large crab almost waving good morning
Morning wave ~ Perfection
Another south-facing beach in this great state, morning walks with coffee along the shoreline offers glimpses of tranquility and peace.
Pelicans flying westward
Boats ~ View from beyond the dunes
Mid-day draws the crowds and has different rhythm of conversation and laughter atop the ocean music; but the transitional time of morning and evening provide just the right light to silhouette nearly everything against the crashing waves.
You know, I’ve seen the sunset in the Florida Keys and it is a spectacular sight no doubt. But even more spectacular, I think, are the sunsets right here in North Carolina as the golden sun drops into the Atlantic, setting the sky aglow, lighting the way for the night to take the stage.
Sunset, November 2015 Oak Island, NC
Silhouette Sailboats – Oak Island/Southport NC November 2015
And long after sunset, the rhythm of the waves keeps steady time here on earth, with an unbreakable relationship with the heavens. I find the stars seem to shine brighter and clearer at waters edge, away from the light pollution of the towns and cities. Perhaps even the waves themselves, in some forgotten language, whisper “Look Up” .
Star Gazing – Mercury, Venus & Saturn (I think) looking Southward over the Atlantic September 2016
A little cloud lightning over the Atlantic ~ After Midnight
Star gazing ~ Looking Southward across the Atlantic
But some nights, some nights the moon shows up in its full brilliance and light shining over the landscape, unseen by those who sleep deep and early. I believe everyone should experience the beauty of the full moon over the ocean at least once in their lives – preferably several times.
These are the nights when the waves truly get to not only sing into the darkness with their rolling music, but to shine brightly under the spotlight of a moon always in tune with the rhythm of the waves. Goodnight Atlantic. I miss you already.
Technically, the August full moon won’t appear in these parts for another couple of days on the 18th. That’s ok, weather permitting I’ll be back outside admiring the night sky then as well. Tonight, the not quite full moon played peek-a-boo for the longest time until finally clearing the southeastern tree line.
A few wispy clouds drifted by for a quick moon-dance, bathing themselves in the glow before drifting away on the night breeze. Sentry Oaks and Pines stood silhouetted against the deepest indigo, keeping watch as the moon beams stretched through branches heavy laden with late summer leaves, blanketing the landscape in deep night-light and shadow patterns. Even if one is alone when gazing upon the moon, one can be assured somewhere, someone else has eyes turned upwards to seek the beauty and peace in the night sky; and somehow I find comfort knowing others are looking up as well.