Last night we had the first full moon of the year. I captured the moonrise over Nabnasset Lake after enjoying the sunset there.
The full moon is also called the Wolf Moon because wolves howl at it. Coyotes too. I didn’t hear any coyotes last night. I wonder how many are left in Westford. I guess there are some but it seems that maybe they are gone. In the land where Stony Brook school now stands I used to hear coyotes regularly and see them once in a while. Since the school went up they are not in evidence.
But the moon keeps rising, above it all. Of course if we colonize it or store dangerous waste there we might be able to change that too.
My spiritual mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his journal about a moonrise on May 11th, 1838:
“Last night the moon rose behind four distinct pine-tree tops in the distant woods and the night at ten was so bright that I walked abroad. But the sublime light of night is unsatisfying, provoking; it astonishes but explains not. Its charm floats, dances, disappears, comes and goes, but palls in five minutes after you have left the house. Come out of your warm, angular house, resounding with few voices, into the chill, grand, instantaneous night, with such a Presence as a full moon in the clouds, and you are struck with poetic wonder. In the instant you leave far behind all human relations, wife, mother and child, and live only with the savages–water, air, light, carbon, lime, and granite. I think of Kuhleborn. I become a moist, cold element. “Nature grows over me.” Frogs pipe; waters far off tinkle; dry leaves hiss; grass bends and rustles, and I have died out of the human world and come to feel a strange, cold, aqueous, terraqueous, aerial, ethereal sympathy and existence. I sow the sun and moon for seeds.”
I didn’t walk in the moonlight last night and it wasn’t May, but Emerson’s words inspire me nonetheless. I am glad to have greeted the moon last night.
Last weekend I visited the Concord Museum with my wife and brother Bill. I was struck by the exhibit of Emerson’s study. As you view the study a recording of quotes about Mr. Emerson is read. Louisa May Alcott said that he was her greatest influence, but Margaret Fuller, the great proto feminist and transcendentalist, moved me when she said that it was a great experience to be in Emerson’s study when he was not present. She needed no book, she said – though there are many in his library – because, ‘there is so much spirit there.’ Even after 150 years and standing in a museum – not his house across the street – I felt that spirit and feel it still.
I hope to continue to study the teachings of Mr. Emerson and continue to seek out moon and coyote. What delights and mysteries they hold!