I am posting this here before I submit it for inclusion in the Quilcene Community Center Newsletter. I have a certain resentment (shouldn’t, but do) for the time I spend thinking about, writing, and re-writing material that goes out to an unknown number of readers when I could be using my limited mental bandwidth and time working on my manuscript for “Swamis.” Then again, I have an unknown number or readers for realsurfers, so…I
INSTANT REVIEW: “You man’splained that to death.” Trish
This piece was inspired by a recent and beautiful full moon.
My original choice for a title was “Into the Moon,” a possibly-not-obvious-enough allusion or reference to a more common phrase, ‘heading into the sun.’ I also considered, “Driving into the Moon,” “Lost in the Moon (even more obscure baseball outfielder allusion),” and “Strait Into the Moon.”
All this internal debate, sheer lunacy.
I had an internal chuckle over the last sentence. Internal only, fingers still on the keyboard, ready at any moment to hit the ‘backspace.’ And why? Because I care.
First, I should explain the ‘Strait’ thing: My day started before dawn, rifling around the yard, loading my really big, old guy’s surfboard and trying to ensure that I had the proper gear for both the surfing, somewhere on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and for a painting job in Port Angeles. The surf can be fickle. Waves, even when predicted to show up, even when the buoys in the open ocean show a swell, frequently fail to find their way down the Strait.
I knew, because Trish told me, that there was a full moon. To me the whole fullness timeline is more like a Werewolf thing, a three-day (night, rather) event between waxing and waning, with, according to meteorologists and astrologers nd astronomers, one exact moment of peak fullness.
Yes, full and non-full moons have a religious aspect. Genesis 1:16- “God made two great lights: The greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night. And he made stars as well.”
It isn’t just Christians and Jews; most other religions have a reverence for stuff going on in our vast firmament. Again, because I care, I did Google searches for, yes, ‘firmament,’ ‘Pagan,’ ‘Infidel,’ ‘Religion,’ and ‘To follow something religiously.’ Let me save you some research; Pagans and infidels are folks who follow a different God or gods than the one or ones you believe in, or no god at all (note the monotheistic use of capital letters); hence, if I interpret this correctly, each of us is a pagan to someone.
And, yes, I also Google-searched “Monotheistic.”
Okay. So, going back up a few paragraphs, I was out getting ready to go work (definitely) and surf (possibly), when, through the trees, hanging over the eastern foothills of the Olympics, I saw… yeah, the moon. Moonset.
Oh! I ran into the house, got my wallet out of my work pants (shorts because it was still summer), ran back out, found the moon, even lower, opened the wallet, and said, “Moon, moon, beautiful moon; fill ‘er up, fill ‘er up, fill ‘er up. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“Oh my,” you are quite possibly now saying, silently or out loud, “that’s pagan.”
I believe you are right.
Or it could be up for interpretation. I will interpret it to suit my, um, behavior.
But, once I started doing this monthly ritual (didn’t look up ‘ritual’), I just sort of have to do it; religiously (as in, faithfully, as in, one can rely on my doing this- Google). The moon through the skylight, or a different skylight, through the trees, though the clouds; even if I can’t see the moon, I have faith that it is there.
There were waves on the Strait. Sort of. I went to one spot, donned the appropriate gear for the cold water, caught a few tiny energy bundles. The tide was wrong. Not discussing the effect of the moon on the tides at this time, but, okay, tidal change is caused by the gravitational pull of the moon, as crazy as that might sound.
I drove, in my wetsuit, to another spot where the tide was just getting high enough for the waves to clear the rocks. Surf. Two hours later the tide was too high. Go to work. Take a brief van-nap. Paint.
As usual, to take advantage of already being nearby, and as kind of a weak payback for surfing, it was pre-planned that I would make some stops in Sequim: Walmart, Costco, Tootsies (take-home dinner for Trish and me- glad they were open). My friends who surf have declined to go with me because of my time spent in what one refers to as the “Sequim Vortex.”
Vortex- “Something that resembles a whirlpool.” Merriam-Webster via Google.
Surf Route 101, basically North-South, runs East-West through Sequim. This can cause full-on sun blindness. Without going into how the sun sets farther north in the summer than the winter*, and how September’s full moon aligned almost perfectly with the Autumnal Equinox, that time when day and night are of equal length**; as I was headed home, sipping on my chocolate milkshake, there was the moon; straight ahead; full, huge, hanging just above the highway in an empty, Maxfield Parrish sky; the entire visible surface gloriously reflecting our more distant sun.
It could be mentioned that the curvature of the earth acts as a magnifying lens, giving the moon (and the sun) at the horizons the appearance of being bigger. All right, I mentioned it.
I pulled out my wallet, opened it. “Oh moon, moon, beautiful moon…” Slurp, slurp… “Fill ‘er up, fill ‘er up, fill ‘er up.”
Really, what kind of pagan says, “fill ‘er up?”
As always, thank you for reading.
*Architects, throughout the ages, have designed structures to take advantage of the north south positioning of the sun. Example: One day a year the sun perfectly aligns with the Huntington Beach Pier, setting dead center. Similarly, and closer to home; going up the hill on the Jefferson County side of the Hood Canal Bridge one afternoon, the sun was perfectly situated in the gap and right on the highway. Perfect, and perfectly blinding.
**I have held the belief that, two times a year, the Vernal and the Autumnal equinox, the earth is in a sort of perfect balance, with equal amounts of day and night everywhere. Well, I looked that up; it is ‘almost’ true, ‘approximately’ a perfect balance. There was an explanation. I didn’t dig deeper.