Sunday, May 6, 2012

Super Moon

The moon made its closest approach of the year to Earth last night (its perigee). It should have been visible here at 10:54 p.m..
by Charlie Leck

Dancing in the moonlight
everybody feelin’ warm and right
it’s such a fine and natural sight
everybody’s dancin’ in the moonlight
                          [King Harvest: Dancin’ in the Moonlight]

Today’s newspapers show photos from around the world of the Super Moon – a full moon as large as we’ll see it in the year. The moon was in its perigee – or came as close to Earth as it will in a year’s time.

Moon lovers were excited to see it and most were out with their cameras and the resulting photos were spectacular. The Washington Post published dozens of them from all around the world.

Here in Minnesota it rained – and rained, and rained! Thunder rumbled and lightening flashed and the rain poured down upon the land. I was up a half-dozen times during the night, looking out at the pouring rain and the bursts of lightening.

There was no Super Moon to see or photograph.

It’s been so dry here, however. We had one of our driest winters on record and last autumn and summer were dry as well. We were beginning to imagine what a great drought might be like in the land of lakes. Well, a few days ago it began raining, and raining, and raining.

It was a dark night last evening and the clouds were so thick that not even the Super Moon penetrated them.

It happens that way sometimes. You want dry weather so much that it gets very, very dry and you begin blaming yourself for wanting it. Then you want rain and it doesn’t come and doesn’t come – until it comes in abundance and you want it to stop so that you can see the sun – and the moon!

I wrote the following about twenty-five years ago (right here in the spot where I am writing this morning) as the opening to one of my essays in a little book called My Town:

“A couple of weeks ago, Independence farmers were beginning to stir. They were remembering the severe drought of a few summers ago and beginning to wonder if we were in for another one. I heard plenty of discussion about which radio station provided the best and most accurate weather forecasts. No matter, none of them were talking about rain. Unusual summer heat and a pounding sun were baking farm fields. Futures prices began to rise on the commodity markets. Dust began to swirl and blow off the plowed fields. The first cutting of hay came in pretty good — maybe just a touch brittle — but farmers began to talk about a sparse second cutting.
“Then, just a few days ago, ol’ mother nature pulled one of her usual pranks. The rains began and with them came a sense of relief all over the community. Even the non-agricultural home owners broke into more relaxed smiles. Watering grass, flowers, plantings and vegetable gardens had become pretty tricky and time consuming. Now the fields and lawns and country roads were being showered down. Color seemed to just spring back into everything.
“Alas, though, the rains just kept coming and temperatures dropped and the winds began to roar. Trees bent and some broke. Geranium pots tipped over. Hanging baskets of flowers swayed as wildly as a Disneyland gyro-something-or-other ride. Large ponds of standing water appeared in the formerly dry, dusty farm fields. Cows huddled together in whatever leas they could find. In the cafe, talk among the farmers now turned to wondering when they could get back in the fields.”

No Super Moon! Lots of mud! Bursting green leaves! It’s springtime in Minnesota.

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