Shine On, Harvest Moon

I was walking home through an evening that had become veiled and dusky.   A thin breath of fog coated the edges of trees and street lamps, turning them into gentle objects, into vague, painterly thoughts.  It was like walking through a nocturne by Whistler.

The twilight was mellow and cool, a blue reflection of a new, richer season.  Summer, however, still clung with a humid grip, and gardens continued to gasp within its hothouse embrace.  It was late September, approaching dark, but the weather still mocked scarves and gloves.

There was only the sky left to explore.  Shyly, hopefully, I looked up and gasped – admittedly, it was almost inaudible, but my mind echoed with a great shout of recognition and welcome.  The moon, even at this relatively early hour, was high and buoyant, her light tickling the trees’ black filigree tips.

Ninety-six percent illuminated, approaching her harvest size, she swam through a net of clouds like a mermaid.  She was bright:  brighter than the lamps rooted across the street; bright enough to guide ancient farmers on their antediluvian harvests.

That particular evening, the autumnal equinox was only a couple of days old, a golden declaration of the threshing months, of mature fields waiting beneath the goddess in the sky.  She was an astronomical marker of early shadows and ripe sunsets of amber and cherry.  She was a bold reminder of the living passages that crossed the firmament – the starry, distant map.

The moon was always observant:  from the time when the night was a pulsating fist, balancing constellations inside its muscular palm to that evening when I was walking home with my dinner.  She watched myth live out its days and the birth of history.  And when September was nearing its end, she illuminated the upturned faces of the men who asked for only a few more hours to work in their fields.

‘Harvest moon’ is for some a sentimental term by now, or even an item of curiosity.   But modern foolishness does not concern this pretty satellite.  Every autumn she rides the equinox, her light touching the skein of constellations that surround her – Andromeda, Pegasus, the Ursas.  She continues to shine on.  People have work to do.

Drink It Up, Drink It In


13 responses to “Shine On, Harvest Moon

  1. Beautiful post. I especially love the paragraph beginning ‘That particular evening…’ as the words just fall so rich and ripe on my eyes.

  2. It is quite amazing how bright the moon really is. We don’t notice it in cities, but get out away from artificial lights and the full moon is amazingly brilliant. It really does cast shadows.

    This harvest moon shone right into my window. I keep the lights off when that happens to enjoy it.

  3. Because of clouds we didn’t get to see much of the harvest moon this year, or much of the blue moon in August, either. Strange how we can feel luna’s presence in our lives – I love all the poetic words you used to desribe this about her…

  4. What a beautiful post, as always… And on the harvest moon, hoorah! May you shine on for us, lovely! ♥

  5. Beautiful, as always. It’s been ages since I’ve commented – sorry. But to make it up to you, I gave you the One Lovely Blog Award: (f.k.a. electric firefly)

  6. I was amazing, wasn’t it? Every year I am delightfully surprised.

  7. When I lived in Liberia, I was astonished in the deep darkness of the bush, how bright the moonlight could be. Later, I found the same to be true on the ocean, and always was moved in my country years by the sight of farmers and ranching making their way home under the dusky moon.

    The moon, the stars, the fluoresence of the water and the lightning flashed by bugs – it’s all still there. But to see them, we have to go into the dark.

  8. The brightest thing ever is the full moon shining on a field of snow. You honestly can read by it, quite easily. And when that brings out rabbits (possibly to commune with the hare in the moon), there’s no question it’s magical. You have to check the footprints in the morning to make sure it happened.

  9. Lisa – Autumn means a harvest of light and color as well as one of crops; there is a richness of sky and earth unequalled during any other time of year.

    LT – Love the idea of rabbits caught in the light of the hare so far above them! And I can’t imagine the majesty of the full moon gazing on snow (I’ve seen ice-y snow, but never snow at its softest and most reflective).

    Barbara – The moon has always been my friend, following me home on dark nights, cheering me in the late afternoon when I can see its pale shadow in the sky.

    FeyGirl – Thank you! In decorations, jewelry and in the sky I will always prefer the moon to the sun – always!

    DharmaD (EF!!) – So happy to hear from you! Thank you so much for the award – I’ll be visiting your blog soon, Aubrey promises.

    Girl – She never disappoints, yet every year it’s true: she is a marvelous, marvelous surprise.

    shoreacres – We need our contrasts in order to see and experience with the most clarity. Shadows heighten the senses and provide the setting for the pure, sharp, gem-like light.

    • A, upon further recollection, my snowy recollections involve jack rabbits. Who are, after all, hares. So of course they come out to commune with their giant lunar brother. I think the long ears served as antennae for the talk.

  10. Beautiful writing; sweet journey in words.

  11. ‘she swam through a net of clouds like a mermaid.’
    Such lovely words Aubrey.

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