September's moon is my favorite in the whole turning year - it is also (above all others), the one I can't describe adequately or take a good photo of, no matter how extensive my preparations and how hard I try. Every year, I potter off to a good vantage point, set up camera and tripod, check settings and wait patiently. The moon rises over the trees (or sometimes a rooftop), and I stand there in the darkness like an enraptured fool with my eyes open wide, a heart full of wonder and a paucity of words for describing the glorious golden lady who rules the night. Bearing witness to this month's moon is a rite for me, and if I had to brew up a name of my own for it, that name would be "Hallelujah Moon".
I once described the situation as a cosmic joke, this business of a creaky elder standing out under the trees and taking picture after picture of the full lunar orb, but never a good one. Well, gentle readers, here we are again, another glorious Harvest Moon has just gone by, another mediocre image captured and shared. It brings to mind the old Zen tale in which a monk on his deathbed was asked to describe his mindful life, and he replied joyously, "just one mistake after another..."
Lady Moon was as golden last night as a moon in harvest time ought to be, but whether or not I managed to capture her perfectly does not matter a fig or a hoot in the greater scheme of things. She rose into the heavens like a great golden lantern, and Himself, Spencer and I were out there together in the darkness to witness her splendid ascension. As we packed up our stuff later and headed indoors, we couldn't help thinking that such transcendent beauty deserved an ecstatic gesture of some kind, a chorus, a chant or a benediction - something grander and more luminous than our simple deep bows and sighs of approval.
We also know this moon as the: Acorn Bread Moon, Acorns Gathered Moon, All Ripe Moon, Aster Moon, Autumn Moon, Barley Moon, Between Harvest Moon, Eating Indian Corn Moon, Black Calf Moon, Calf Grows Hair Moon, Chrysanthemum Moon, Corn Moon, Corn Maker Moon, Dancing Moon, Deer Paw the Earth Moon, Dog Salmon Return to Earth Moon, Elderberry Moon, Drying Grass Moon, Fruit Moon, Hay Cutting Moon, Her Acorns Moon, Holy Moon, Hulling Corn Moon, Index-finger Moon, Leaf Fall Moon, Leaf Yellow Moon, Leaves Changing Color Moon, Little Chestnut Moon, Maize Moon, Mallow Blossom Moon, Moon of the First Frost, Moon of Full Harvest, Moon of Much Freshness, Moon When the Leaves Fall off, Moon of Plenty, Moon When the Corn Is Taken in, Moon When the Plums Are Scarlet, Moon When Deer Paw the Earth, Moon When Calves Grow Hair, Moon When Everything Ripens and Corn Is Harvested, Moose Moon, Morning Glory Moon, Mulberry Moon, Nut Moon, Papaw Moon, Rice Moon, Rudbeckia Moon, Seed Moon, Shining Leaf Moon, Silky Oak Moon, Singing Moon, Soaproot Dug For Fish Poison Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Wavy or Snow Goose Moon, Wine Moon, Wood Moon, Yellow Leaf Moon.