Pondering, Photographing, and Writing about Wild Places

Walking Alone Under a Magical Moon

Already visible to folks farther east, the super moon is on its way. In honor of its coming, some will sow their corn, others drum and chant. Many will simply sit out on the deck with a glass and gaze in wonder at its brilliance.

Here in Southeast Alaska, the super moon will be accompanied by super low tides. The Pacific Ocean, pulled by Sun and passing satellite, will bulge at its center, draining the narrow fiords of the Inside Passage. Over one six-and-a-half hour period, the sea here will drop nearly twenty-five feet, exposing worlds rarely bathed in sunlight.

The potential for anemones and octopi, sea stars and urchins, geoducks and sea cucumbers will bring the community out to flip rocks, peer into pools, and dig in the mud. I will be there too, just as I am this morning, in my own chosen nooks, hopefully hidden from the masses, camera in hand to document what wonders I find. There is magic here.

This morning as I wander the low tide, I find a mottled sea star, surrounded by urchins, stranded and exposed to its namesake’s rays, awaiting the promise of the incoming brine lapping at its toes.

Nearby, others of its ilk are bunched together, clinging to the rock along with sea anemones. They, too, are waiting. Sea cucumbers and urchins, both prized for culinary use, are abundant, but I do not harvest. I think the sea might need them more than me this morning.DSC_5037For those more prone to a different sort of magic, seers say the Sun is in Taurus, opposite the Moon in Scorpio. They say to look for “fulfillment of that which was started at the New Moon,” for romance, fertilization, and relationships. Some diviners suggest treating certain reproductive organs with extra care during this lunar phase.

Personally, I think it is always wise to treat your reproductive organs—and other organs for that matter—with special care, regardless of which stars happen to provide a backdrop for what planets or moons on a given night. And though my dance card does not support the notion, I think any time is a good time for romance, and aside from when the neighbors are trying to sleep, or I am trying to write, there is no bad time for beating on your drums, either.

Nonetheless, my feet will remain on the ground these next few days as the oceans do what physical law requires of them and, with any luck, I hope to find magic behind the drawn curtain, leading me to wonder how, or why. And I might even make up some stories about what I find, though unlike our bronze age ancestors, or those still following their pre-science wisdom, I will not be trying to answer the questions with my tales. That, I will leave to science.DSC_5008


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These intimate photographs are great, and they are witnesses to what must have been an intensely satisfying photographic experience. –Finn

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