The first time I saw a harvest moon rising on the horizon, I was 13 or 14. My mom had just taken me shopping in San Francisco and we were driving home on 101. I saw the tip of its arc crest the horizon across the bay, a crazy reddish-orange color, and then slowly rise. At first, it seemed too impossibly big and the color, too rich, to be the moon. I watched it rise, stunned by its beauty.
This past Sunday we drove north and then up to the top of Mt. Tam. We hiked to a small outcropping of rock and sat and watched the sky turn gold then pink above the thick blanket of fog. The sky deepened, the day darkened, we ate our take-out Thai food and watched the wild turkeys until the moon rose, already in eclipse, above the fog. It looked almost transparent at first, a haze against the sky. A jack rabbit came by, its ears sticking up above the high grasses. We stood in the cool air and watched the moon develop into a red sphere. We stayed watching until the earth passed through leaving a sudden and very bright curve of light around the edge.
It is so easy for me to get caught up in my daily life that I don’t stop and take time to witness the earth around me—even though taking this time is the thing that grounds me, inspired me and brings me peace. When I stop and watch the waves or enjoy the sun or watch a moonrise, I invariably return to myself, shake off all the clutter of the things I need to do, and come back to that place of inspiration within me.