Sunday, March 20, 2011


The term is terribly over-used, but the moon rise last night was indeed super. I lost about a minute of its entire glory, because I was expecting a rise directly out of the east, which would have meant that Sheep Island, or possibly Vinalhaven, would have hidden it for a bit. At 7:10 I got up to look more to the south, and there it was, already risen about a fifth of the way, huge and full and yellow-orange, coming directly out of the sea.

The moon last night was at its orbital perigee and thus closer to the earth than it has been for 18 years. I could tell, have seen a number of spectacular rises over the Bay, that it appeared to be noticeably larger, 14%, the scientists say. I watched it climb for a while, its rays lighting a path to the shore, trying to communicate beauty.

When I regained my senses, I thought about the precision of the numbers that allowed me this sight: rise at 7:09 p.m.; 14% bigger; 50,000 kilometers closer to earth. The moon rise would have been there without me, of course, but I thank science for its part of the experience, and for a thousand other measurements that allow us to swoon so passionately to nature. The way we live now is fragmented, abstract, divorced from feeling; let's celebrate whatever's necessary, even cold facts, to get us back to light, especially at a time when the news around the world, much of it a perversion of science and nature, is so dark.

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