A full moonrise over a frozen lake

The cold has settled in and the lakes are freezing.  Throughout the day I watched the clouds and the snow move in.  The wind would pick up and blow the snow down the lake, forming whirlwinds of white skimming the ice.  As quickly as the snow came in, then the sun would come out.  The ice would creak and moan as the heat from the sun combatted the cold of the ice.  There were sub-sonic groans that pierced the air.  And then the cycle would repeat – snow then sun then snow.  But before sunset the skies cleared and there was a beautiful and quiet full moonrise.  It lifted over the opposite shore and trees and eventually directed its light on the snow-covered and ice-cracked lake, littered with leaves now encased in the ice.

A full moonrise reflection

The sun had just set, and the twilight was slowly diminishing.  On the opposite shore of the lake, the full moon rose quietly.  It gracefully cleared the trees and its light sent a column of brightness across the ice.  The weather has been unusually warm so the ice was not solid and clear.  The moon’s light showed the imperfections of the ice, along with the leaves that have been embedded during the colder nights.  It was a beautiful study of light, patterns, hardness and softness.

Full moonrise

Full moonrise 10917_StaatsLast weekend’s super moon and lunar eclipse was an event followed by many people.  I found myself in the agricultural fields of the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota at the time of the moonrise.  The weather had been glorious with warm temperatures and a southerly breeze, and as the sun set the sky remained clear.  Slowly the full moon rose on the eastern horizon, clearing the corn fields that surrounded me, accompanied by the sound of the wind rattling through the dry corn stalks.  Although I was in the middle of the city, it seemed like I was distant and not in an urban area.  But what surprised me the most, were the number of people that had come out to do the same thing I was doing.  The gravel road between the fields was lined with cars.  People were sitting in chairs or sitting in their cars, and people were walking — all there to marvel in the size of this full moon and then to observe the lunar eclipse.  Another 18 years is a long time until the next event like this, hence the urgency for many of us to enjoy it this time.

July’s full moonrise

July's full moonrise_StaatsYesterday was the full moon of July.  I’d heard it referred to as the “supermoon” – appearing immense in size due to its proximity to the earth.  As rainstorms moved into the area in the afternoon, I had given up any hope of seeing the moonrise.  But the clouds parted and the skies cleared about 6:00pm.  We had gone out for a night of fishing (which was not so weather-dependent), yet we lucked out in so many ways.  The fish were biting, the sunset was beautiful, and it was quickly followed by the rising of the pink full moon.  It cleared the trees on the east side of the lake, and let its reflection glisten in the still water below.  For a short while it hung in the sky between the trees and the upper clouds, then quickly slid out of sight into the clouds.  We stayed on the water for another half hour, and as we headed to the landing the moon cleared the clouds again, this time shining clear and white.