Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Many Moons, Super and Otherwise - a Tribute

William Blake: The Wandering Moon 1820
May 5 2012 (AFP Photo Robert Michael)
Hiroshige Saruwaka
Van Gogh: Wheat Sheaves and Rising Moon 1889
Arthur Dove: Me and the Moon 1937
Winslow Homer: Kissing the Moon 1904
Samuel Palmer: Harvest Moon 19th c
Basquiat: Cadillac Moon 1981
Creation of the Sun and Moon 13th c
Paul Klee: Fire at Full Moon 1933
Myth met reality this week when we were treated to the phenomenon of a 'supermoon'- technically known as a perigree full moon for its proximity to the earth. The photos from all over the world are spectacular - this eye-popping example is from Dresden, Germany (AFP photo by Robert Michael) I'm a big fan of the moon (I'm hardly unique - you probably are too) for its often startling beauty and the magical nature of its perceived changes. Human may have trod on the surface, planting flags and leaving dusty footprints, but when that silvery ball or sliver hangs up there among the stars on a dark night, it's easy to understand why humans have always found it a source of mystery and power, for good and for bad. The full moon can bring riches and cure warts, but it can also drive you mad. A full moon is always an event - with our scientific mindsets we understand the movement of the tides, the moon's relation to the sun and earth, etc., and watch it simply for the pleasure it brings - but in a more agricultural time and place it signaled essential steps in the growing year. The names of the full moons for Native Americans identify expectations - Full Hunger Moon in February, Full Worm Moon in March when the ground starts to warm and life begins to reappear, Full Corn Moon in September commonly known as the Harvest Moon, which marks the harvest and signals the Autumn equinox. I hope you got to see this month's 'supermoon' - I watched it with friends in NW Connecticut as it emerged dramatically from behind a thick bank of clouds and rose until the sky glowed silver - so beautiful! Many artists have tried their luck at catching moonbeams - in tribute to the moon, here is a selection from various times and places.