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dreaming in the shadows of the Sleeping Maiden

Posts from the Night Category

Mt. Tamalpais, October 3, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed at night, under a starry sky.

The heat lingered well into the night yesterday. We decamped outside and stayed under a starry night well past midnight. Which is how I got to take a picture of the mountain when the day was less than one hour old.

Winds are picking up out there, shredding the heat, rustling the leaves, blowing wasps off their course, and stirring up a commotion among the crows. Somewhere, a street over, the whine of saws and leaf blowers. Life is returning to normal after the heat in the suburbs, illuminated too by the wind-laundered sunshine. All of which means that it’s likely to be too cold for after-midnight meanderings under the stars again.

Mt. Tamalpais, July 28, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed in moonlight shortly after midnight

Late into the evening last night a few of us still up and at our computers and on Twitter were carrying on, quite in a rapid exchange too, about the fraying effects of a slightly uncomfortable social fatigue that has bedeviled us after a month filled with plenty of interactions with “tweeps” and others in general in “real life.” The interactions, we agreed, have been amazingly inspiring and amply regenerative for the creative spirit, but as Tamara Holland wrote in her post on her Bean up The Nose blog, there comes a time when even in the midst of such rich fun we have to go with our own rhythms. And sometimes, those rhythms can only be heard when the conversation halts and the silence throws the door open to the world beyond the dazzle of the immediate to the vaster lands of the ‘here and now.’

It’s for those moments that I tried to capture the mountain in this photo. I stood in the breeze, not long after midnight, watching the moon hang in the sky as if a little fatigued itself, but when I looked at my watch, I realized, that even though the night was rolling in, the day, this new day was so young that it hadn’t even open its eyes or took that first big breath yet.

Mt. Tam glimpsed in the rising moonlight

I took this picture, shortly after 9 pm on Saturday, June 23. Yesterday evening, that is. At that hour, Sunday, June 24, had already burst on the scene in New York. On the western shores of Europe, Sunday was unfolding into the light of day rolling across the continent, while the folks over in New Zealand were about to get ready for Sunday dinner, perhaps even catching a glimpse of the winter sunset coming their way.

When I headed out last night, I tried to stand in pretty much the same spot from where I took the picture for what is now yesterday’s post. I tried to bookend the day, but that proved to be impossible, given that I had this sense that my day never really started yesterday. Sure, there were the cups of coffee and the lists of things I had to do and the list of things I wanted to do. Not much got checked off from either.

Laundry from one list. When in doubt, at a loss, anxious, or even after the ecstasy, there is the laundry, to quote Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock. As for items from the “want” list, like biking over to the San Anselmo Art & Wine Festival, I got as far as catching a ride with the spouse late in the afternoon, when parking proved impossible and my mood too sour for crowds. So we drove on and bought groceries instead. By the time we got back home, we scrapped the plans for going to the movies, too.

And so it happened that the only moment that both put me fully in and took me out of the day that never took off, was the small gap in the darkening sky through which moonlight threw its anchor … or, in this case a bait for words.

Mt. Tam in moonlight

An eerie stillness, a very bright moon and stars that seem to be hanging closer to Earth make for a magical evening around here. Even the mountain seems to be higher, as if rising to meet the enchantment spun by the thread of stars in the moon’s loom of light.

Mt. Tam glimpsed near the end of sunset

Even as light fades and night seeps in, the eyes hold steady the landscape now redrawn by the constellation of streetlights and the haphazard quilt of lit-up windows. But the camera takes its cue from the hand, which has its own map of a world in motion – a world where light is the wave you hope to catch and hang on to for a ride that touches neither the gritty shore nor the formidable undertow….