Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hunting for The Harvest Moon

I am writing this before we know for sure if we got our killing frost this morning here in upstate New York.

It is supposed to get down to 30 degrees, with scattered snow showers.  Back on Monday, it was sunny and in the 60's.  Things change so quickly in the fall. One day sunny, the next day lake-effect gloomy.  One day, nice breeze and the next day a breeze that cuts you to the bone.  One day the leaves on trees are green, and the next day (or so it seems) they are gone.
Black Walnut Tree, Vestal Rail Trail, Vestal, NY

In the fall, the Moon takes over the sky.

In September, our full moon is called the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon rises right after sunset and sets right after sunrise the next morning.  I never understood why it was called a harvest moon until I lived in rural Arkansas, some 30 years ago. 

Back when I grew up in New York City, I had never experienced what the full moon could do.   I never saw the true night sky, either.  What I saw was a washed out version, with a few constellations scattered here and there.

In Arkansas, living on an unpaved road without lighting, I saw the Milky Way for the first time, and I saw the power of the full moon. I saw it light up our land so brightly you could read by its light.  When snow was on the ground, it was almost like daylight.    I never stopped marveling over how the night sky was really supposed to look like.

Now that I am back in an urban environment, I no longer read by the light of the Moon.  But I still love to see the Harvest Moon of September, and the Hunter's Moon of October. 

Here, in Westover, near Johnson City, NY, we have a harvest moon sunrise.

In the west, meanwhile, the moon was about to set behind a row of trees.

For this year's Hunter's Moon, we were also going to have a penumbral eclipse of the Moon.  I was so excited when the clouds broke up and I was able to see the Moon.
Picture taken during the height of the eclipse.
But what I couldn't see was the eclipse.  I read, later, that my experience wasn't uncommon.

So, in a few minutes I will leave for work, in the dark.  When I return home I will know if the frost hit.  If it did, I will say goodbye to my flowers and steel myself for the winter to come.


  1. Awww, Alana, don't steel yourself for it: EMBRACE IT! (I'm trying to buoy up my spirits, too!)

  2. What a journey you took us on, that's what I love about camping so much, the night sky, it's so incredible away from all the lights.

  3. My plants tell me it's way too early for frost. New flowers are forming on the hydreanger here in England, and more rose buds are forming. Strange season indeed. But I love the lingering autumn.
    I saw a total eclipse of the moon in Hawaii just after the centenial. Japanese trourists handed out paper goddles so everyone on the beach could view it without damaging their eyes.


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