Ode to an Autumn Moon

A giant white moon hangs on the horizon. From this rocky ledge, deep in the woods, the eastern twilight is dashed by the huge white orb that rises in the sky. Barred owls call back and forth to each other seemingly celebrating the full moon. On a distant ridge I can hear the wails of a pack of Eastern coyotes. A porcupine, likely not joining any lunar celebrations, ambles on a narrow bedrock trail that parallels the steep cliff below. I came here just to watch the moon rise. A simple meditation on my place in the universe. I confirm that the importance of my presence is significantly less than minimal.

It is a still night. Sounds travel effortlessly. A v shaped flock of honking geese overhead fly south. I hope that they find a path in front of the large white moon; a post card type of scene that I’ve always wanted to witness but in my 65 years never have. The geese seem intent on flying throughout the night. Something they often do until they find a place to rest at dawn. I am reminded that all of the habitual patterns of nature have a reason. Eons have a way of making all just about perfect.

If I look straight up into the sky it is very dark. A few hazy stars are witnessed as the blinking lights of a plan flies toward the Atlantic Ocean. I wonder where the plane is going. I wonder what the people on the plane are thinking. I wonder if they too can see the glory of the full moon to the east. I certainly hope they can.

I remember reading Goodnight Moon to my boys when they were young children. I read that book over, and over, and over again. They often fell asleep while I read verses they’d heard a hundred times before. Those days will stay within my heart forever.

The moon gets smaller as it ascends. In only 20 minutes it appears to be half of its original size when it peaked through the boundary of the horizon. It’s piercing white light no less intense it is a marvel to watch it from these woods.

It is these simple moments when I understand our place on this vast planet. If we take the time to behold the magnificence we will be more likely to take care of the Earth. This is all we have. There is no other option. It ours to respect, enjoy, and behold. Without the Earth we are nothing.

****

Mona Lisa Smile

You brighten the night with your Mona Lisa smile

dawdling through the heavens from east to west

In an ocean of twinkling darkness you appear as an isle

A brilliant reflection of light massaged and caressed.

Your image repeated on dark lakes and ponds

Late night loons giggle at your wavy image

Wolves howling mournfully both near and beyond

from lakeside shores and distant high ridge

Draped in white light the forest’s mood serene

Perhaps the quiet side of rapture revealed

The purpose of which can hardly be foreseen

The mystery of night always and forever concealed

Basking in your glory it is ours to understand

the size of the universe, the vastness of it all

the distance of nothing, the emptiness spanned

ancient memories lost without any trace or recall

Gracefully without warning you slip into dawn

your memory left behind but beautiful hopes remain

Your end is without fanfare; as mute as a swan

For another lap of the earth we await your refrain

Goodbye Mona Lisa with your quiet smile

So long to sweet dreams blinded by inky night

Adios brilliant moon we’ll see you in a while

Sayonara eventide illumination until the next lunar light


Originally written for the Heath Herald in October of 2016.


  • Barbara

    Been a while since I’v had the complete joy of reading your words Bill. this piece on the moon is so terrific – the Wolf moon shone on me and my dog early this morning and I thought of you.

    For a long while I have been in the nasty depths – regretting my move from my beautiful little church up near Georgian Bay. But no more. And because I am back writing again, I have started looking for old friends. Hopefully you are still writing, and will continue to do so. Your posts were always glorious, no matter what the subject, always interesting, informative and always something to learn. Hope you are well and your doggy friends are still with you. Best wishes for a wonderful year ahead. b

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