I wasn’t paying attention…
…to the moon’s phases and was caught off-guard last evening when the full moon rose over Mount Hallowell and shone into my bedroom all night long. The windows are curtained with white linen so the moonlight filled the room. I woke every hour or so, wondering if it was morning. And when it was, I tried to take a photograph of the full moon about to fall down behind the hump of Texada Island, fringed by trees, the sky a beautiful pinky-gold. And the moon refused to show up in the photographs.
It was the Mourning Moon, November’s full moon marking a time to give up old bad habits, old unhealthy relationships, to prepare for the season ahead. Time for one of those bonfires, I think, when old papers are turned to ash: unrealistic expectations, hopes, resentments. Time to use that eerie light to make a new path into the darkness of December.
Yesterday, tidying some papers on the counter, I was surprised to see this paint sample fall out of a sheaf of recipes. I’d been looking for it in early summer when we were planning to paint the back bedrooms to make them fresh and ready for the arrival of our children in late July. What colour should we paint them? asked John, and I said, Why not the colour we used in our bedroom? It was the lighter shade in a trio of yellows, the darker of which we’d used in the kitchen and the bathrooms. I couldn’t find the sample (because, bad habit, I never file this kind of thing efficiently but just leave it around and hope that I can find it when I need it) so we chose something close. But now, here’s the sample and I smiled to see that my bedroom, lit all night by the Mourning Moon, is in fact Morning Moon. The one which wouldn’t allow itself to be photographed.
At one point when I woke, I looked out the east window (the bathroom window), and there were just a few stars following the moon, and I thought of Sappho, fragment 34, in Anne Carson’s restrained and beautiful translation:
stars around the beautiful moon
hide back their luminous form
whenever all full she shines
on the earth