Tuesday, January 13, 2015

 A Full Moon Adventure
Oscar Wilde penned, “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon who could not be happy?” Add a little chocolate and coffee and I would totally agree. Although I am a morning person I have always been mesmerized by the moon. The consistent cycle of the moon, waxing and waning every 29.53 days takes my breath away as it reappears in its full, impressive bulk hanging low upon the horizon and glowing golden. This glorious, glowing orb works together with the sun and the earth, all contributing gravitational pull, creating the tides of the mighty ocean waters upon the earth.

When the full moon shines into my bedroom window I often feel as if I am being nudged to go outside and see what mysterious beautiful shadows take shape and prowl about in the backyard, though I rarely go. The moon beckons; I sleep. But responding to the temptation to being in moon light shadows is exactly what my husband and I did last Tuesday evening. Though it was planned, not spontaneous, we joined a small group of people for a full moon hike on Cowles Mountain. It isn't so grand as far as mountains go, but the 4 mile round trip hike was exciting and fun. A wonderful bonus was the REI instructor, Sarah, brought trekking poles and we had an opportunity to try them out. I am sold on trekking poles. What a difference it makes! My middle-aged joints were spared on the steep climbs and descents, and my upper body had more of a workout.

The invitation my husband gave to go on this hike was met with, “Let me think about it.” I don't dive right into anything requiring me to stay out late and be awake or squat behind a bush to tinkle. After a day or so of giving it some thought I agreed to go; I knew it had the potential to be a good memory. But as I often do in advance of a new adventure, I angst over every aspect of it. “What if I hurt as badly as I did on the last hike we took (which was quite strenuous)? What if I need to go to the bathroom? What if I am too tired to see clients the next evening?”

On and on went the questions and the need to process. I do not fully understand why I seem to have to go through this to get to a good place about a fun opportunity that may have a temporary effect on the way I feel physically. But I do. My poor husband. I reminded him I will get to a good place, I just need to talk about my concerns and get them out of my system. I almost talked myself into feeling too badly to go.

I am oh so glad we went. Besides Jim and I, there were 2 guides and a woman 10 years my senior. We all made it and did quite well. The older woman told us her first hike ever was to the top of Mt Whitney, the highest peak in CA. Now I am not so impressed with my own willingness to make this moon light hike. The whole adventure reminded me of another full moon hike I took 5 or 6 years ago with friends from work. It was an idea inspired by me. I told you the moon lures me out, and occasionally I respond to its bidding. We were to meet near a remote wooded area after dark; I arrived first. There I sat in my car exposed by the full moon and wondering how safe it was to be out here alone. I locked the car doors and called my friends to make sure they were coming.

As we all gathered and began the hike, we chatted. Somehow I thought this was going to be a quiet hike. I guess I had imagined admiring the moon in silent awe and listening to the night sounds. A summer night in the Missouri woods can be quite noisy with cicadas and crickets. For the most part I heard only the voices of my friends on this particular hike, at least until the moment when someone said, “What was that noise?” We paused to listen. We all heard a sound none of us recognized. After a bit of nervous deliberation we agreed to turn around and walk back over the portion of the trail where we had entered the woods. In spite of not walking the entire length of the trail we still felt adventurous outside in the dark woods late at night soaking up a bit of moon light.

Oh the moon, the glorious moon. The moon inspires poems and stories. Remember when George offers to lasso the moon for Mary in the movie It's a Wonderful Life? Harold and the Purple Crayon is a story about a boy who decides to take a walk in the moon light and he draws the moon, though not full, and himself outside until he grew tired and longed to return home. And then there is the sweet book by Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon, a bedtime story I used to read to my girls while snuggled up with the sweetness of their fresh bathed, pj clad little bodies. People are drawn to vacations in the sun, but the moon has the lure of romance and the mystic lure of nighttime adventures, at least for those with good intentions.

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