Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More Splendid Moonlight Than Usual

May 6, 2012
Moreau Lake State Park, NY

If there is a more splendid moonlight than usual
only the belated traveler observes it …
   HDT’s Journal, May 18, 1851  [continues below]

Every month of the year, Moreau Lake State Park hosts a Full Moon Walk.
In winter months, sometimes that walk leads us
right down the middle of the frozen lake.
In summer, it’s a way to see a familiar trail in a new light.

For this month’s moon, we went on a Full Moon Paddle.
Headlines were all blatting about the upcoming “SuperMoon,” which was supposed to be “at least 14 percent brighter.”  While  I do appreciate the unique heavenly positioning of this month’s moon, the hype about it was a bit irritating.  Then again, such hype might get more folks to step away from the TV, go outside and look up !

For many full moons last year, I was not able to attend the walks, unless they were on a weekend evening. So it was with great pleasure that I pulled my little kayak out of the storage bin, slid her into the car, and joined the other folks at the boat launch on the Lake.

There were, all told, twelve boats in our flotilla.

The clouds of late afternoon were swept away as the weather changed for the better.

While Moreau Lake is not exactly wilderness -- it is visited daily by swimmers, campers and boaters -- by the time the sun began to set,
we had the water mostly to ourselves.  
The night-songs of unseen amphibians filled the air, and we drifted past the scent of a distant campfire.

The lake takes on a wilder aspect as the mountain grows dark
and looms above the water. Now it’s a mountain of owls, instead of a mountain of songbirds.  American Toads begin to purr from reedy coves.

The Muskrats grow bolder as the light dims – here’s one heading straight for John !

Alas, as you can see by the above, over the winter I had forgotten about the dreaded Moving Boat Effect on photos.

Combine that with ever-fading light, and you get a more, um ... Impressionist style than usual.

(That smaller light on the left is Jackie's camera-screen. She's trying to capture moonlight from a moving boat, too.)
But you get the idea.
The scenery was beautiful, whether captured by a camera or not.

We were near the end of our evening paddle. At last the Moon rose slowly and steadily, up and over the trees at Head Cove. We all rafted-up and sat quietly, floating in the moonlight.

It was a grand night to be out, and equally grand to spend these hours with others who appreciate such things.  Fellow-saunterers on the water.
On that moonlit night so long ago, Henry Thoreau walked alone.

… I am wont to think that all men are aware
of this miracle –
that they too are silently worshipping
this manifestation of divinity elsewhere –
but when I go into the house
I am undeceived,
they are absorbed in checquers or chess or novel,
though they may have been advertised of the brightness
through the shutters.


  1. Lovely, I was unfortunately in a city the night of the supermoon, though I did get to see it rise early in the evening. Far better it would have been to be out on a lake somewhere, like you were

  2. Ah, Sue, it is always such a delight to revisit our adventures through your beautiful blog. It puts me right back there in that magical evening. Thanks.

  3. My daughters always loved the "moonbridge" from Vermont to NY on Lake Champlain when we visited Camp on the lake. Favored bedroom is the one on the lakeside that looks straight out over the water towards Isle La Motte.