Saturday, September 21, 2013

Webs, Mist, and Light

Every morning - even if I get up late - I look forward to 15 or so minutes of dwelling with the sunlight before heading off to work. I live for those moments at this time of year! If I can discipline myself to get to bed early enough (still working on that...), I can get up in time to savor the rich, colorful first act of the sunrise.


If I miss that, there's still the brighter second act when the sun climbs the island trees or the bridge (depending on what time of year it is) and beams out its first rays.


This week, there has been a lot of morning fog and mist, and some mornings the sun didn't really emerge until after I left for work. So I had to take a closer look to find a visual treasure to carry in my heart and feed my soul throughout the day.

This week, it has been spider webs. I have been fascinated nearly to the point of obsession with spider webs made visible by the light of the sunrise.


Spider webs are all around us, although we might not notice them until we inadvertently walk into them.


Even with spider webs on my mind, it isn't easy to see them at first. You have to train your eyes to find them.


Sometimes it's a matter of stopping, becoming still, and either defocusing your eyes to take in the broad picture


...or focusing like a laser on just one spot.


By mid-week, I had to question why I was so fascinated with spider webs. I think it has to do with the idea of putting out a web to catch what spirit longs for. Soul food.


To catch ideas drifting through the air. To catch light.


You begin with an intention, use your intuition and senses to find a good spot, and start weaving your web, perhaps quietly and almost invisibly.

Aesthetically, I adore the intricate woven patterns of the webs and how they interplay with light and water to create the appearance of a spiral of glistening beads. Webs of dew and light.


It's all about catching the light. And that includes moonlight!

The full harvest moon was this week, and each night I headed to the river and waited for it to appear over the trees on the opposite shore. One night, I noticed it rising above the river as the sun set.


Later that night, when the moon floated high above the river and the moonlight shimmered and waved on the water, I spent some quiet moments on the dock first with my husband and then with my son. I had a lot of "work" work to do, but nothing was more important than sitting under the moonlight. With my husband, it was more of a quiet appreciation of the moment and of being together. When my son came out with me, we talked the whole time. Memories are built out there under the moonlight. I'm sure neither of us will remember for very long the topics we explored - goals, philosophy, relationships, school schedules, what it's like to be a teenager - but surely we will remember that we had moonlit conversations on the riverside. Quality time at its finest.

The next evening, my husband and I were kayaking as the sun was setting. He had balanced some rocks upriver and wanted to show me. On the way back, it was getting dark, and all of a sudden I glimpsed the large, orange moon orb glowing between the trees on the eastern shore. It was spectacular! We paddled as fast as we could to get back home so I could get my gear and photograph the moon while it was still low, large, and orange. But the moon moves so quickly! By the time I had set up, it was no longer orange, but it was still breathtaking.


The next night was Friday, and I had a plan to photograph the low, orange moon just beginning to rise across the river. We can't see it from our house until it gets higher, so I decided to be adventurous and paddle to where we first spotted the moon the previous night. I knew the exact time we saw it and planned to be all set up and ready around that time. So I got set up and waited. And waited... It grew quite dark - much darker than it had been when we were on the river the night before.


I knew the moon would rise a little later than it had the previous night but didn't realize it would be close to a half hour later! It was nearly pitch dark, and I was standing alone on a tiny shore area big enough for my kayak, tripod, and me. I listened to the sounds of wildlife and waves lapping the shore and then finally noticed a very faint rose glow hovering just above the treetops directly across the river. The glow expanded and brightened ever so gradually, until I spotted the orange-toned curve of the top of the moon. Moment by moment, more of the moon itself became visible.


From there, it became more luminous as it climbed the treetops and floated above them. It was very challenging to photograph with my equipment in such low light, and this is the best I could do:


When I decided to pack it up, I had the intense pleasure of paddling alongside the moon, which was still low in the sky. Moonlit paddling is an exhilarating experience. It really makes you feel alive. After a long, grueling week at work, I needed that!


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