The “Wolf Moon” in her brightest fullest self arrives at midnight tonight. Named by Native Americans, I understand. I hear my own hungry wolves in the depths of winter.
On Edisto Island, where the vast sky is uninterrupted by street lamps, brilliant moonlight twists over the grass, dancing between moss laden live oaks like tall, lavender ladies. Serendipidously, as I pack my things in North Carolina to head back to Edisto for this night, and to outrun a snowstorm here, I stumble upon a piece of writing by the amazing poet, Mary Oliver, whose work carries me on so many days. This is in her book, West Wind.
“Now only the humorous shadows that the moon makes, playing the corners of furniture, flung and dropped clothing, the backs of books, the architecture of electronics, and so on. The bed that level and soft rise is empty. We are gone.
So, say that dreams, possibilities, emotions, while we are gone from the house, take shape. Say there are thirty at least, one to represent each year, and more leaning in the doorway between the slope of the beach and the pale walls of the rooms, just moon-gazing for a moment or two, before they come into that starry garden, our house at night.
Some of those thirty are as awkward as children, romping and gripping. Others have become birds, clouds, trees dipping their heart-shaped leaves, that long song. Here and there a face that won’t transform — eyes of stone, expressions of pettiness and sulk. And now it is winter, and in the black air the snow is falling in its own sweet leisure, for its own reasons. And now the snow has deepened, and created form: two white ponies. How they gallop in the waves. How they steam, and turn to look for each other. How they love the clouds and the tender, long grass and the horizons and the hills. How they nuzzle, how they nicker, how they reach down, at the unclosable spring in the notch of the pasture, to be replenished.”
Greeting Charlotte-Great Post-I can often remember as a youngster being memorized by the moonlight sky over Edisto. Some of my earliest memories of moon gazing were with my grandmother and her sisters who are all long gone now. I remember sitting on my Great Aunt Jodie’s lap on the beachfront porch, starring out over the moonlight ocean- she would fill my imagination with the images a giant ladder that we would one day use to climb our way to the moon. Well its about forty years later and I haven’t thought of that giant ladder in a long while…until now. Thanks-
Cal, what a fine memory of an Edisto moon! This is one I will not forget – so full of imagery, and family. Thank you, Cal. This is what this island paradise is all about!
I am very sorry to have missed this moon of Edisto. It was – and still is – very bright up here in NY, but just as Edisto can be the darkest of the dark places when the moon is dark, a full moon on a clear night gives enough light to read by. Walking the dog in the dark of the moon is a real experience pon top. Even a flashlight doesn’t open it up much and the dog doesn’t love it. If you get back in the woods a little, you can find absolute dark.