Saturday, October 27, 2007

Perigean Moon

The Perigean Moon. That’s what our local weather forecaster, Chuck George called it. It’s the full moon when the moon is closest to the earth making it appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter then when it’s in apogee, or farthest from the earth. Knowing its name is one kind of understanding, but watching it rise behind the Rincon Mountains large and glowing like a moon balloon is another. Hearing the coyotes yapping and howling at one a.m. in the silvery light of this bright night makes me wonder if they, too, are affected by a Perigean Moon.

I walk out into the yard to see the source of this midnight day. A few feathery clouds float in the velvet sky. Overhead the pearly orb is circled by a ring of light. If this was winter in the north the ring around the moon would portend a snowstorm, but here in Arizona, what does it mean? When the sun rises later this morning it will rise in a blazing ball of autumn heat that will raise our temperatures into the 90’s: No snow here. So, what does a moon ring mean to coyotes? Did it tell the Native Americans anything?

I go inside and fall asleep with silver moonlight pouring into my bedroom. A few hours later the howling of coyotes once again awakens me. They sound so close! I shake the cobwebs from my brain and throw the covers off. In the pale light streaming through the door I find my sandals and run outside. I so want to see the wild dogs of the night. I cross the yard to the block wall and peer beyond it in the direction of the sound, but all I see is an empty wash and the model home beyond the far wall. I cross the yard to the north side where the wall is lower and I have a better view, but still nothing. The coyotes have quit singing, though the neighborhood dogs haven’t quite settled down yet, their anxious barks still piercing the night.

I ran out the door so fast that I had no idea what time it was. I came out because the coyotes called me, but now the pure beauty of the night holds me spellbound. The Big Dipper is upended in the northern sky. The Little Dipper is not visible, save for the North Star in its constant place. Above the eastern horizon a planet glows brightly at me. I do not know enough astronomy to tell you which one it is, but it shines so big and bright I can almost imagine another world on its surface.

I am hot from being under the covers in bed, but now I press my body against the cool block wall as I scan the neighborhood still hoping the coyotes will caper into view. A cool eastern breeze ruffles my hair as my nightgown flutters against my legs. I rest my chin on the block wall after first scanning it for bird droppings. When you feed the birds, you have to watch out for things like that, but the feeders are located near the back wall—apparently I am safe!

How still and cool the early morning is! The shrill chirping of the monsoon crickets is all but gone, replaced by a soft and gentle autumn song. By now the moon has moved farther into the west but I am amazed at how high in the sky it still is. While I am wondering if it will still be visible at dawn I hear my clock chime five times through the open windows. The sun will rise in about an hour. Will it say "Good morning" to the moon?

A little over an hour later I have my answer as the eastern sky turns a light mango behind the lilac mountains. Now the wispy clouds that appeared white in the night are smoky gray. Far above the western horizon the moon awaits the coming of the sun. A few minutes more and the sky changes to a baby blue; gray clouds blush pink and lavender. Still the moon shines brightly. Will moonbeams touch sunbeams when the sun breaches the horizon? I have my answer now. They will greet each other with reflected light before the perigean moon sets in the western desert.

5 comments:

Mary said...

This was a beautiful post and I'm glad you drew our attention to it. I think we often get so caught up in the photos that people post that we don't always read their words.....and obviously we miss something when we don't. Thank you for your writing.

Larry said...

When you write that well you don't need a photo because you've painted a mental picture for us.-It sounds like you blended right in as part of the natural surroundings-a free spirit.-Glad you brought that post back for us to read.

Kathiesbirds said...

Mary, thank you. I really love to write the most, but I know people like to see photos. Since I started adding in photos, it gets hard not to write to the photos instead of letting the photos illustrate my writing. I loved reading what you wrote about coming home. You made me feel as if I was right there with you in those houses. It is also a beautifully written post.

Larry, I'm so glad you read this. You were the first "new" person to visit my blog and I have learned so much from you. It really is my favorite and I'm so glad to share it with everyone because I wrote it before most of you started visiting my blog. I try to go back and read older posts in new blogs I visit for the same reason.

The Texican said...

Great time of day isn't it? You did a marvelous job of describing your impressions. I derive inspiration from photos, and I search out photos to fit pieces I've already written. Both methods stir the muse.

Kathiesbirds said...

Why thank you Texican. You are so right!