The Wolf Moon

I awakened out of a sound sleep, confused. It wasn’t dark in my room, but I was certain it was dark when I went to bed.  It’s easiest for me to sleep in deep darkness, so that’s the way I arrange my nights.  The room was aglow, but not with the rosy light of dawn.  My room was bathed in grays and blues.  In seeming darkness, but every object distinct.  It was the moon.

And what a moon!  Certainly, the full moon has lit the bedroom before.  Regularly.  This, though, this was different.

I tossed the piles of blankets aside and stepped out on the deck to see.

Now, these musings are always a little intimate – deep dives into my mind or heart.  But here you’re going to learn more about me than I planned to tell you, things that make the experience ring true, but that you really did not need to know about me personally.  You do need to know, though, if I’m to convey the richness of these moments.

The setting: I live on the side of the mountain, sheltered under hemlocks and poplars, river birch, maple, red oak, and others I cannot identify.  The understory of this mountainside forest is great rhododendron, ancient behemoths towering over twenty feet tall, thick with glossy evergreen leaves.  All of this serves to make the deck off my bedroom quite private from the neighbors, with houses an acre or more distant, below me on the hillside.  It’s wintertime, so the trees are bare, with the exception of the hemlocks, but none of those evergreens are above the deck.  In winter, I can see sky overhead.

I live alone.  I sleep alone.  Pajamas are something I wear until I go to bed.  I consult no one about the temperature of my room, so it’s the way I like it, unheated (until the outside temperature dips into the teens) and I pile my favorite blankets and quilts on the bed and burrow under them, in a nest of warmth.

So tossing aside the piles of blankets and stepping outside on the deck in the moonlight this night is a bit risqué, not to mention chilly, but I was not publicly exposed.  What I was, though, was standing in pure poetry.

There was a misty rain falling, so silently that it was completely unexpected.  Hugging myself for warmth from the chill rain, I took it all in.  The world was every shade of bluish gray.  Deep shadows were indigo.  Bright light was that palest blue that shines off sterling silver.  The level of light was that of early dawn or dusk, but washed of all color, save those tinges of blue.

And then, then I looked up, for the moon.  I had heard there was a Wolf Moon tonight.  Shrugging it off as just one more full moon, I had thought nothing of it and went to bed -early for me- maybe 10:30.  Waking up after an hour and a half of sleep is not my routine.  Once I’m asleep, I stay asleep until morning.  The brightness of this wild moon had pulled me out of slumber.  And the reason for the spectacular light was the sky.  Overcast, with the thinnest of cloud layers, the sky was nearly white, and completely backlit by the full moon.  I looked up at it through the inky deep blue lace of wintry bare branches, watching as wisps of deeper gray clouds skittered and raced across the face of the moon.  The moon itself was an indistinct hazy orb of light, with a wide fringed halo extending far beyond the norm for such things.  I stood watching the gossamer bits of darker clouds in their frenzy flying past the front of the moon, and I was unaffected by the cold, so deeply mesmerized was I, by this scene.  The mist settled on me, definitely falling, like rain, but fine and soft like a falling frost.  The world was utterly silent and perfectly illuminated. Still and serene.  And like no other earthly landscape I have visited outside my dreams.

Finally, shivering, I stepped back into my room, thinking a hot shower would settle my nerves and I could go back to sleep.  But the words kept spinning in my head, the whole time warm water relaxed the chill off my skin.  Ethereal.  Other worldly.  Those skittering dancing filmy clouds chasing each other across the face of the moon.  The woven basketry of the inky bare branches between me and all that outer space.  The impossibility of a rain so fine and the quiet.

So I bundled up in pajamas, added socks and a sweater, and armed with sweet tea and reading glasses, sat down to share this with you.

And now it’s late, so I’ll publish this and bid you goodnight.  I hope you saw the moon.