The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Notes From The North: The Poetry of Place

Sunset was early last night, with a steady drizzle and that soft river fog that ghosts up the Sheepscot Valley and haunts all.
The evening feeding is over, and the birds have flown back to thicket and hollow.  There is movement in the leaves under the feeder, in this half-light my eyes struggle to pick up shapes and colors, but there is a long tail and a black back, and a wind-up motion that is true Towhee.

Long absent, yet he and his mate were once part of this yard.  His call each morning and evening repeating his name and bringing in his mate to feed.  And then several years with no Towhee and a silence in the glooming.

There is a light rain tonight, and an icy sea breeze, yet leaves are jumping under the bittersweet and the soft calls of "towhee, towhee" fill the air and thrill the heart on this full moon, super moon.

--Win Brooks, Alna Maine

Several friends and family members sent emails yesterday reminding me of super moon's appearance for the year.  Somehow, even though I am an ardent moon viewer, I had missed the build-up to super moon...and an evening of meteor showers to boot!

These last few full moons have been enjoyed through our ordinary binoculars.  Sitting in a yard chair, bracing my arms, the moon looks exceptionally rare and wonderful each time!  Such a surprise!  Has it always risen like this?

My husband and I went out at sunset, outside of town, so that we could watch the moon rise.  After a breezy day, the wind had completely died down.  Not a breath.
But the air was overwhelmingly scented with a nearby flowering tree.  Everything was perfumed, though my husband couldn't smell it.

Incense for the moon rising.  

On the horizon, the edges of large puffy clouds were illuminated pink and pale yellow from behind as the moon inched into the darkness.  The clouds moved languidly,  and the leading edge of the moon appeared and disappeared, dancing with the elements.  Each time it appeared, the color had intensified.

Why is a full moon sometimes more interesting when partially obscured, when tree branches reach into its fullness and clouds race across its face?
We had a terrific build-up to the moon's full appearance.  Meanwhile, the chill of the night air was refreshing and the moon incense filled my senses.  Behind us, the sun had fully set.  Above, stars were in view.  Over my shoulder, Venus was rising, demanding and extravagant.

We left our post soon after the moon completely came into view, orange and very super!
But I got out of bed several times just to check on the moon's progress through the night sky, until by 4:30 it was completely obscured by dense cloud cover.
Still, the pull is there.

If I imagine I am not an ocean tide, a birch tree branch or the cat bird who sings all night, I've lost all sense of Just This!  And if I can't ride across a river on a blade of grass, the point of this practice is obscured!

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