Rising radiantly out of the velvet summer night, She is lightly touched with gold and occasionally crowned with stars, lighting rivers, newly mown hayfields, fruiting trees and verdant valleys, city streets, rooftops, chimneys and gardens all shaggy with produce and flowers. There is a sense of untrammeled magic residing in July's moon - a lustrous enchantment that is almost tangible.
Now and then a skein of geese heading for cool night waters is silhouetted against Lady Moon's face. At times, Her light falls across a flock of grazing wild turkeys or browsing deer in a farmer's field, paints a floating moonlight highway across the lake and up into the region of the boundless summer stars. I think of July's full moon as the "Moon of First Harvest", or the "Moon Before Lughnasadh", and pre-Raphaelite paintings like those of Robert Edward Hughes come to mind - the artist painted some fabulous summer moons. Lacking his way with brush and paint and canvas, I am out with a camera and tripod instead, trying in my own way to capture the magic of the lady who rules the night.
For the most part, the names of this high summer moon have something to do with abundance, gathering in and harvest. We know Her as the: Black Cherries Moon, Blackberry Moon, Blessing Moon, Blood Moon, Blueberry Moon, Buck Moon, Claim Song Moon, Corn in Tassel Moon, Corn Moon, Corn Popping Moon, Crane Moon, Daisy Moon, Fallow Moon, Feather Molting Moon, Flying Moon, Grass Cutter Moon, Ground Burn Moon, Hay Moon, Holly Moon, Horse Moon, Humpback Salmon Return to Earth Moon, Hungry Ghost Moon, Index Finger Moon, Larkspur Moon, Lightning Moon, Little Harvest Moon, Little Heat Moon, Little Moon of Deer Horns Dropping off, Little Ripening Moon, Lotus Flower Moon, Manzanita Ripens Moon, Mead Moon, Meadow Moon, Midsummer Moon, Middle of Summer Moon, Moon of Blood, Moon of Claiming, Moon of Fledgling Hawk, Moon of Much Ripening, Moon of Ripeness, Moon of the Home Dance, Moon of the Horse, Moon of the Middle Summer, Moon of the Young Corn, Moon When Cherries Are Ripe, Moon When Ducks Begin to Molt, Moon When Limbs of Are Trees Broken by Fruit, Moon When People Move Camp Together, Moon When Squash Are Ripe and Indian Beans Begin to Be Edible, Moon When the Buffalo Bellows, Moon When the Chokecherries Begin to Ripen, Moon When the Wild Cherries Are Ripe, Mountain Clover Moon, Peaches Moon, Raspberry Moon, Red Berries Moon, Red Blooming Lilies Moon, Red Cherries Moon,, Return from Harvest Moon, Ripe Corn Moon, Ripe Moon, Ripening Moon, Rose Moon, Salmon Go up the Rivers in a Group Moon, Seventh Moon, Smokey Moon, Strawberry Moon,, Strong Sun Moon, Sun House Moon, Thunder Moon, Warming Sun Moon, Water Lily Moon, Wattle Moon, Wort Moon.
I am rather fond of "Blessing Moon", "Mead Moon" and "Ripening Moon".