Blue Moon in Jackson Hole

I have been ending my public readings with a quasi love-letter to the land. It’s the introduction to Get Your Pitchfork On!’s Land Section, in fact. In it, I write: “The night sky in the city is like a watered-down, warm soda—washed out by light pollution of all but the brightest stars and planets.”

On Thursday night, in Portland, Mike and I admired the nearly full moon on a walk around Mt. Tabor. It was truly gorgeous, rising bright and confident above the reservoir and towering evergreens. But, it was not a country moon. Quoting again from GYPO:

“In the city, you can’t appreciate the way [a full moon] bathes everything in a blue glow because everything in urban areas is lit with yellow, incandescent lights—between the streetlights, house lights and car headlights, it’s amazing anyone can sleep.”

So, imagine my thrill when the last blue moon until 2015 occurred Friday night, shortly after my arrival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming! (Just so you get your blues straight: a “blue moon” means the second full moon in one month, a rare occurrence.)

Visiting friends (and recent newlyweds—mazel tov!) Meg Daly and Mark Llinares, I was so engrossed in catching up that I nearly forgot about the moon, blue or otherwise. Shortly after 10, we stepped out the back door to find that it had risen above the tall buttes to the east. Brilliant. Even though small bands of roving clouds occasionally passed in front of it, the moon lit up the entire south end of the valley—the foothills of the Tetons, the cow pasture on the neighboring ranch—causing the aspen leaves next to the house to twinkle in silhouette.

My only camera is in my phone, so the following photograph does not begin to represent the silver-edged beauty of the clouds and the ethereal state of “nightday” that the land takes during a full moon. I could have gazed at it for hours.

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