August 02, 2012

Chasing the Moon

I spend a lot of time photographing and writing about sunrise, sunset, and the sought-after "Magic Hour."

Yet finding the sun is easy. I know exactly what time and where it's going to be, every morning and every evening. I only have to chase it because of my own schedule. It is predictable. (My sleep, work, and recreational patterns, however, are not.)

But the moon, the moon is something else. Occasionally I catch wind of some historic or seasonal event like the Supermoon, or an eclipse, or the big red Harvest Moon, but generally, the only way I can keep track of the moon is by its phases. Because of the pattern in which it orbits the Earth, and the Earth's turn on its own axis and its orbit around the sun, the moon appears in a different place in the sky every night. It rises and sets like the sun, but I never know where to look for it, or when. Sometimes I can see it hanging in the blue sky during daylight. Other times - particularly when I seem to be on a full moon hike - I can't find it at all.

Last night, the moon was at 100%, casting a pale light over The Desert Lily. I gazed up at it in the midnight sky, and wished I was hiking under it. Everything looked so clear.

Tonight, I missed watching the sunset to attend a full moon celebration (one night later) at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs, replete with a drum circle and bellydancers. But once the sun went down, I became restless. I wanted to look at the sky from The Desert Lily. I wanted to be alone with the moon.

So I left.

As I careened up Indian Canyon Road towards Highway 62, I glanced to my right and gasped. The moon was rising slowly over the Coachella Valley, glowing orange and low, looking preposterously huge.

I pulled over on Dillon Road, got out of the car and snapped a photo, which does not do it justice.

I kept one eye on the moon the rest of the way back. The moon followed me home, and was waiting for me, hanging high and bright in the sky, almost where it was last night, almost as full as last night.

I wonder where it'll be tomorrow...

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