September's moon is my favorite in the whole turning year. It is also (above all others), the one I can't describe or take a good photo of, no matter how extensive my preparations and meticulous my labors. Every year, I potter off to a good vantage point, set up camera, telescope and tripod, check my settings and wait patiently for night to fall. The moon rises, and I stand breathless in the darkness, trying to capture her magnificence with my lens, grasping a scant handful of inadequate words to describe the most beautiful moon of the year. Bearing witness to this month's full moon is a personal seasonal rite, and if I had to brew up a name of my own for it, that name would be "Hallelujah Moon".
I once described the matter as something of a cosmic joke, this business of standing outside after dark and taking photo after photo of every full moon but never a good one. Well, here we are again, another glorious Harvest Moon has just gone by, and another folder of mediocre images has been captured. It brings to mind the Zen teaching tale in which a monk on his deathbed was asked to describe his life, and he replied blithely, "just one mistake after another..."
Last night's full moon was not quite a super moon, but she was only an hour or two away from perigee (the point at which the moon is closest to earth), and super moon or not, she was impressive. In the greater scheme of things, it doesn't matter how my efforts turned out - it was being there that mattered. I was delighted to be around for another glorious harvest moon, and I hope to be around for many more. Luna rose splendidly at the appointed hour, and we (Himself, Spencer and I) were out in the darkness together, watching her do her thing. As we packed up our stuff later, we couldn't help thinking that such magnificence deserved a gesture of some kind, a chorus, a chant or a benediction - something grander and more luminous than our rickety bows and sighs of contentment.
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, Blood Berry 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 Falling Leaves, Moon of First Frost, Moon of Full Harvest, Moon of Much Freshness, Moon When the Leaves Fall, 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.