Moon Watching

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops a full moon with flowers to celebrate the Full Flower Moon and Mother's Moon and Mars at opposition.

Bright light poured into the bedroom when I awoke in my mother’s house in the middle of the night. Street-lamps. Their white radiance puddled on car tops and on the newly paved street. I tiptoed from window to window, peeking beyond the glowing. The sky was a thick mass of clouds, as it had been most of the day.

“I wish we could see the moon, we’re missing the moon,” I’d announced before bedtime.

“May’s Full Moon was called the Full Flower Moon as well as Mother’s Moon,” according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. They’d promised a Full Flower Moon for Saturday night. A Mother’s Moon. How perfect that I was visiting my mother. Waiting for weeks in anticipation, I’d known it wouldn’t look any different from other moons. Farmer’s Almanac uses colorful Colonial and Native American names to track the moons in changing seasons. May marks a time of warming, blooming, increasing fertility. Bare trees were finally budding. Wild violets and fresh white trilliums dotted the slopes off woodland trails. The gray winter was really over.

For me, any light in May, even a street-lamp, is something to celebrate.

A Flower Moon. It was also a Blue Moon, the third full moon in a season of four full moons. And Mars was at its brightest and closest point to Earth in more than a decade. But Saturday night there was not even a hint of Mars, or the moon, in that dark sky.

Sometimes it’s the hardest thing to have faith that there will be light, that summer will come again, that there will ever be another beautiful bright time. But then, there are things that leave no doubts in my mind: I can’t always see the moon, but it is out there, somewhere. I can’t see my daughter who died, but I believe she is out there. Somewhere. Watching the moon. Watching me.

And somehow, through long winters and many moonless nights, a small light inside me stays aglow with hope.


What does a full moon mean to you?


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9 thoughts on “Moon Watching

  1. Gladys Botie

    “Shine on –/Shine on Harvest moon –up in the sky. I ain’t had no lovin since January, February, June or July” . Who else is so old that remembers that old song that comes to my mind when I think of the moon. But that’s not true for me right now — because my daughters Robin and Laurie and a friend came to stay with me the weekend I arrived here in the Berkshires. And so I had lots of “lovin” and warm, caring attention I could wish for. If Marika is a moon-maiden — she was here with us.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I’m still working on the image of Marika as a Moon-Maiden. And I’m still hearing you humming that Harvest Moon song. It’s a little hard to get out of my head actually. So, the next full moon, which is a strawberry moon, I believe, I’ll have to come up with an image. Cheers, Mom.

  2. Elaine Mansfield

    As you know, I’m a moon watcher, too. Your image of the flower moon is spectacular. I saw a hazy full moon that night, but there were too many clouds to see Mars. So I missed the Mars-Moon conjunction, but caught up with both of them on their celestial wandering a few nights later under clear skies.

    This piece so clearly expresses the longing that’s with us after five years, after eight years, after ten years. Longing for another glimpse, another memory, another chance.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Sigh. So sadly and beautifully put, Elaine. Excuse me while I find my handkerchief. The longing.
      I’ve been singing to Mars lately, as well as the moon. My eyes and heart reach out to the skies like they’re stretching in longing. But what better things to watch? Moon-watchers. Planet watchers. I gratefully take a seat under the skies, as so many have done before, in curiosity, in love, in mourning, ….

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I think this is a good sign, Joleen. Maybe even a compliment. I wonder how you got that heart on here. Okay, experiment time. nope.

          hmmmm. null okay, I'm quitting before I mess up the whole works here. Must remember to ask Bob my webmaster how we can get hearts. And stars. And maybe a mini-rainbow while we're at it. Cheers!

  3. Lucy Bergstrom

    What a lovely commentary on the moon’s importance to us earthlings! It’s so true, when the moon is not visible, we have to believe it’s out there somewhere, just as we believe in love or God or redemption. Another thing about the moon – everyone around the world can see it, unless local weather conditions cover it with clouds. It is a comfort to know that Masai herders in Kenya can see it, eskimos in Nunavut can see it, and my dear ones across the ocean can look at the same moon as me.
    For a long time, I wondered why I couldn’t see the moon for a good part of the month. Then my smart brother sent me a chart, showing rising and setting times for the moon throughout the month in his part of the world; it is of course “visible” only during the day for about half the month! So a little ghostly moon-sliver sometimes surprises us when we gaze at clouds or try to see what birds are calling above. Fortunately, it’s visible after dark when it’s full, weather permitting! This is the stuff of myths – you could write a myth, Robin! It could be entitled, “Marika, the Moon Maiden”. She fades away to a ghostly sliver for half the month, then waxes and glows at us, filling us with elation, for the other half.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I love that new myth, Lucy. I might just have to write a blog about that one. And the idea of the moon being accessible (visually) to people and places across time and space is so comforting. And don’t you just love the morning moons? I remember when I used to walk around my country block in the early mornings and sometimes I found myself looking at the early morning sun rising to my right, and the leftover morning moon, still overhead, on my left. I told myself it meant luck. Those were the days before Marika got sick. I haven’t walked around the block in the early morning, or ever, since. But now that I’m settling into a new chapter of my life …


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