Saturday, October 10, 2015

dark of moon

did you see the lunar eclipse at the end of last month?

it was kind of a big deal for me. i was living out at casa quince. from home it would have been a simple thing. go out the door and look.

but it was different out at casa quince.

first of all, it gets dark early this time of year, and when it gets dark, i want to wind down and go to bed. casa quince faces west and has a hillside behind it, so to even look at the moon at all, i had to get in a boat and leave camp.

and it was COLD out.

there wasn't going to be any sitting in my little boat just off of my cove. i was going to have to paddle to keep warm.

but i was alone out there. usually there are other people on the sites and i can see their lights.

i'm a diurnal creature. and i feel pretty secure on my campsite alone in the dark as long as i can see it in the daylight. intellectually i know that it's not safer before the sun sets than after, but something back in my lizard brain needs to survey camp, settle in, and hunker down until morning.

from my site i could see that i was the only person in my immediate neighborhood, but out on the water i could see a long way up and down the res and the feeling of lonely nearly swallowed me up. places that are usually devoid of people never seem lonely to me, but places that have recently held people and lights seem very, very empty when they are dark and i am alone.

once i was clear of my cove the light of the moon fell on me so brightly i almost heard the click of it being turned on. the water was still and black and my boat is a pale grey, so that was quite a contrast.

it was too cold to just sit and watch, so nothing to do but paddle. south, around the point, toward the state park. less scary than paddling into narrower nothings and shallower water with snags.

owls hooted. coyotes yodeled. i whistled in the dark.

yeah, i know that's an expression, but i did it. literally.

and then THE NOISE.

it was loud. it seemed to whirl around me.

what? geese? don't they settle DOWN at night? i had not heard geese all day, and here was a huge invisible flock wheeling over my head.

holy. honk.

so i kept paddling. after a while i could see tiny friendly lights at the state park. a fire here, a headlamp there. still some miles off, but friendly feeling.

way down at the state park there was nobody down on the shore and i watched the moon enter the shadow of the earth.

and then i realized: i will be paddling home into the dark of the deserted north end by less and less moonlight as the eclipse enters totality. i know from experience that i will not be able to see my friendly little camp lights until i am around the point, almost at my cove.

darkness. still water. and a disappearing moon.

i know why this happens. i understand about the shadow and the orbits.

but a primal awe and fear overtakes me: the moon should not be doing that. it is getting darker and i am not at home.

away from the tiny friendly lights of the sate park, up into the narrowing dark, racing the decreasing moonlight.

home. home. i am going home.

at last i see my tiny little lights. i pause in my cove and watch the last of the moon be swallowed by the shadow. i beach my boats and go up to sit by my fire.

goodnight, goodnight.

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