Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Harvest Moon 2017

The full Harvest Moon casts its shadow across the planet tonight. As the moon emerges from the sea, coastal residents can experience the sublime event precisely as it has been viewed by humans for thousands of years. It is no wonder a star-filled dome over land's end and the timeless sound of surf capture and command our consciousness so easily. Add a moon rise and all reason flees.

Lowcountry moonrise over McQueens Island east of Savannah, ca. 1950

The moon, like a flower in heaven's bower, with silent delight sits and smiles on the night.
                                                                                  William Blake

It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes 
  And roofs of villages, on woodland crests 
  And their aerial neighborhoods of nests 
  Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes 
  And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
  Gone are the birds that were our summer guests, 
  With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows 
  Of Nature have their image in the mind, 
  As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer’s close, 
  Only the empty nests are left behind, 
  And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

                                                           Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If on her cheeks you see the maiden's blush, The ruddy moon foreshows that winds will rush.
                                                                                    Virgil, 70 B.C.E. - 19 B.C.E.


Photos and Illustrations:
Lowcountry moonrise, Fort Pulaski National Monument Handbook, 1954

William Blake quotation, from Songs of Innocence and Experience, 1789
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Harvest Moon, public domain,

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