Wouldn't you know it? Just when I despair of ever catching a shot of that big red moon, just as it's rising -- it happens. Now, granted, it rose late last night, so everything else was dark. But still -- you get the chance to see how huge it is, and that fabulous color!
So why am I so obsessed with this? The short answer could be that one of the other local photographers created a poster with the moon rising over Seattle that hangs at the Post Office; it could just be that competitive thing.
But I suspect it would be truer to go back in time to a moment years ago, when I was between husbands and visiting Baker's Island, off the coast of Boston, with a dear friend (now deceased) who was a hospital chaplain and later godmother to my oldest daughter.
I was sleeping in a window seat of the living room of a house loaned to us for the weekend by friends of hers, and was awakened in the middle of the night (the house faced east, across the Atlantic) by this huge red THING on the horizon.
I remember going into a dead panic, wondering if nuclear war had come to Europe, and I seriously considered waking Maggie to express my concern -- except I lay there absolutely paralyzed. I watched as it got larger and larger and then slowly disconnected from the horizon -- was it coming to get me? And then it sent a ribbon of light across the water as if reaching out to me in my living room, and my pulse finally slowed and I realized it was "only" the moon.
It was a terrifying and deeply moving experience, one I've never forgotten, and I honestly felt (I was in my born-again evangelical phase at the time) that God was reaching out to me across the water, time and space.
So now, when it happens (though less impressively, because there are houses, and a city, and a hillside between me and the moon) it always reminds me of the odd mix of terror and safety I found in that long-ago moment.
Perhaps that's what both the mountains and the moon have to offer us: that reminder that we and our momentous concerns are actually incredibly small in the general scheme of things. It's humbling, but in a good way...
And yes, I have just repeated myself: I just had this feeling, and I checked -- I also wrote about this moment back in September of 2008, almost exactly four years ago -- and it was almost exactly 30 years ago that I was on Baker's Island.