Monday, January 9, 2012

Longer Days, Shorter Nights

We can notice that our days are already longer and our nights shorter.  Something else that we're seeing these days is this interesting phenomenon:
the moon is rising at almost the same time the sun is setting.  Here is the rising moon last night right around 5 p.m.  It's still light outside, but the moon is shining brightly in the eastern sky.

This morning the opposite was true: the moon was setting in the west at the same time the sun was rising in the east.

I guess it helps that the moon is at its fullest right now.  When the sun has set and the sky darkens, the moon comes into its full glory.  You could go outside and garden by its light, if this were the right time of year for gardening.  The shadows cast by its light are as distinct as daytime shadows.  I find these bright nights inspiring.  They also remind me of the poem by Walter de la Mare:
     Slowly, silently, now the moon
     Walks the night in her silver shoon;
     This way, and that, she peers, and sees
     Silver fruit upon silver trees;
     One by one the casements catch
     Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
     Couched in his kennel, like a log,
     With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
     From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
     Of doves in silver feathered sleep.
     A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
     With silver claws, and silver eye;
     And moveless fish in the water gleam,
     By silver reeds in a silver stream.

 I especially like, "slowly, silently now the moon."  And I wonder if "shoon" is a derivative of "shine" or harks to a Dutch word for shoes, which I believe is "schoon."  The beauty all around us never fails to touch me deeply.

This picture was taken just a short time ago, with the telephoto lens all the way engaged.  I was standing on the balcony, and Dickens was sitting on top of the #1 greenhouse.  That's the power line just above him.  This greenhouse has walls 10' high, and the roof peak is about another 8' up.  We were flabbergasted this morning to see him way up there.

He lives up to his name every day, getting into mischief and generally raising a ruckus.  Especially when he starts his day he has energy to spare and expresses his affection with much clawing (of the affectionate sort) and gnawing (also of the affectionate sort).  This doesn't rhyme very well with my first cup of coffee while trying to do a little relaxed reading.  So out he goes into the yard where he can dash around and chase whatever (mice, hopefully) to his heart's content.

Fortunately, Dickens loves to be outdoors, and isn't concerned about some snow or wind.  The driveway is treacherous with a slickened surface of melted and refrozen snow.  No matter.  He dashes down the slope, turns a somersault or two, bounces through the snow bank and into one of the greenhouses.  Just a little sunshine and they warm right up and provide a great playground for him.  This is the first time we've seen on top of one of the greenhouses.  What a cat!

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