No way was I going to miss the honey moon.
Yep, that space between the words “honey” and “moon” is supposed to be there, because I’m not talking about a romantic trip to Gatlinburg following a wedding. I’m talking about the full moon that appeared this month on Friday the 13th. It was known as a honey moon because, with the sun at its highest and brightest and the moon at its closest to the horizon, our lunar orb looked bigger and more amber than it has or will at any other time this year.
Apparently, we have a honey moon every summer, though this is the first time I’ve heard it called that. Sometimes it’s in June and sometimes July, depending on when the full moon appears closest to the summer solstice. But one thing’s for certain—a honey moon on Friday the 13th is a rarity. The last time it happened was in 1919. It won’t happen again until 2098.
Since I’ll be 143 years old when that date rolls around, I decided I better jump on the chance to get a good look this time.
Grandson Eli and his parents were here for a weekend visit. Because getting a toddler ready for bed is no easy task, no one was enthusiastic about sitting outside with me to watch the moon come up. But no matter. I plopped down by myself on the smooth stone slab that serves as the top step to our front porch and waited, grateful–as always–to live out in the country where city lights don’t dilute the magic of the night sky.
By 8:00, the millions of frogs who had been warming up their vocal cords for the last couple of hours launched full-force into their nightly symphony. From the wooded hillside behind me, coyotes joined in. Down close to the grass, lightning bugs flickered. A breeze caught a branch of the ancient magnolia tree and scraped it against the sheet metal roof.
The last pink vestiges of sunset disappeared from the sky, which had deepened from silver to gray to nearly black. Just when I had about decided that the moon wasn’t going to show up after all, a glow appeared behind the mountains to the east.
This was it.
Sure enough, here came the moon, slowly slipping up over the tree line. It didn’t take more than a minute or two for it to show itself in full, but I’m sure I held my breath the whole time. It was worth the wait. Magnificent. Breathtaking. Spectacular. But nothing like the shockingly orange harvest moon of autumn. Nothing like the stark white snow moon of winter. This moon looked like an enormous egg yolk, rich and ripe and—yes!—the color and texture of honey.
The best part of the whole show was that I could sit and gaze at it to my heart’s content. I wasn’t cold. I wasn’t hot. I wasn’t hungry or sleepy. I had nowhere to go and nothing to do but look at the moon. I heaved the heavy wooden rocking chair off the porch and lugged it to the middle of the yard, where my view wouldn’t be obstructed by the giant maple tree.
I rocked and stared until the mosquitoes finally drove me inside, where I jotted down some quick notes about what I had just witnessed. Words can’t do justice to the only Friday the 13th honey moon I’ll ever experience. But since I’m no photographer, they’re all I’ve got.
(June 22, 2014)