cycles of ending and beginning

NatGeo_CoverFull moonrise above Abbotts Lagoon as the sun sets over the Pacific.

Reading Annie Dillard’s book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek allowed my lifelong fascination with nature to rise to the surface. She reminded me as an adult that I should keep looking around to notice the simple and essential beauty in the environment. As a child I was connected to those cycles – I stalked frogs along the edge of my grandmother’s pond for hours. Once caught and admired for their glorious mottled beauty, I would let them go and stalk the next. When I balked at the silent figure of a garter snake hiding among her roses, Alvina Pritchard taught me that even snakes are good citizens of any garden, principal players in the balancing act of life and death. I remember the moment that I realized when there is a full moon, the sun sets as the full moon rises, then as the sun rises, the full moon sets, once a month – equidistant in their dance around our orb. I was walking the dog before sunrise, husband and four children sleeping on a sub zero morning, snow crunching beneath my boots. I did a double take as the sun rose in the east – there was another sun in the west! How could that be? It is a dazzling phenomenon that plays out once a month, yet we creatures of the interior have forgotten fundamental nature cycles. I now delight when the moon is full to catch this show. Best seat ever was this particular evening along Abbotts Lagoon in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Greg and I had hiked the dunes to watch the sunset on the Pacific and suddenly we turned to see the porcelain beauty of the rising full moon draped in a ribbon of clouds spectrum-dyed across the horizon. Full moon sunset is the most magnificent example of the connectedness of endings and beginnings on the planet. These are the moments at which I utter a prayer of thanks to the programmers who designed the cellphone pano feature, allowing me to stitch one of my best compositions ever – because I was there to see the show. Front row seats for the grand ending and small beginnings on the dunes of Abbotts Lagoon Beach.

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