Moonset at dawn

Posted on April 8, 2012


On Saturday morning Miss Sadie, the Cowboy and I were up early. At dawn the full moon would set over Grand Traverse Bay just as the sun rose over the drumlins, and we would be there. We gathered our provisions and trotted across the road. Would there be too much cloud cover? No, there would not.

We had seen prettier moonsets at dawn.  Once there had been a much larger moon, with wispy clouds draped across it like scarves, and a pinker sunrise lighting it.  No camera, of course.  Perhaps all our peak experiences are doomed to be unrecorded except in memory.  We waited to see how this moonset would ripen.  We heard loons.

We saw birds.  I cannot swear that the birds we saw were the loons that called.  These loons might be ducks, or mergansers.  Miss Sadie, the Cowboy and I are unreliable in these matters.   As the sun rose higher, the gulls arrived, swooping and tumbling.  We are sure of the gulls.


The image reminds me of the sappy illustrations in some of the children’s books I read a hundred years ago. The illustrations were meant to be inspirational, but I have since thought how much better it would have been to see reproductions of Turner or Constable.  On the other hand, this image has the advantage of recording something I actually saw, and will serve to remind me of the morning with its loons and gulls and dogs and misty light.

We came home the long way.  One of the best things about living here is spending a lot of time outdoors in every season and at every time of day and night.  When you do that, you are pretty much guaranteed to see something beautiful.  No matter what else is going on in your life, you cannot help but notice the beauty, and take comfort from it.

Dutchmen’s breeches are drying on their tiny clotheslines amid the wild leeks.  The first cowslips bloom along the creeks.  Buds are swelling on the trilliums.  Each year, rising out of the loam, out of all that we have lost, comes new life. Happy Springtime.