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Moon as Ovum and Other Surprises

Friday, November 19, 2021

I was a little bleary this morning. There was, after all, some kind of once in 500-years total lunar eclipse, the slowest ever bla bla bla...I don't pay much attention to the various  distinguishing human markers slapped on every celestial event, but I was excited about seeing the moon in an altered state. There was a mackerel sky in force upon my retiring, and I had high hopes it would break up by the time the eclipse got going. 

My brain, naturally, woke me at 1:30 AM, 2:33 AM. and 3:47 AM. Each time I got up to look. Finally, at 3:47, the clouds had cleared and I had to run to the west side of the house to find the moon. It was worth it.

I couldn't shake the impression that it was not a moon; it was an ovum. It looked watery, diaphanous. It looked like it would jiggle like an egg yolk if you poked it. There it was floating in the vast womb of the sky, waiting for something to come swimming along and make something of it. It was unfinished, protoplasmic. I was riveted. Penumbra. That's what the disc is called, right? Even that sounds like a reproductive term.

It was very difficult to photograph, especially without a tripod. I should have digiscoped it, but fussing with a scope, tripod and phone adaptor at 4:05 am was just not something I could handle. I couldn't even deal with finding socks for my freezing feet. So I sat down on the ground, leaned against a cold concrete retaining wall, steadied myself, and shot some lousy photos. I kind of like this one, that includes the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, in the upper right corner. Orion was bold and bright, but he was caught up in the twigs of a birch and I had no hope of capturing him. I have a sort of crush on Orion. At least he makes me smile each time I run into him.

I went back upstairs and it was getting light when I finally drifted back to sleep. I opened my eyes again at 6:55 AM. Four wakeups feels like a lot, even for me. Still, getting to enjoy the celestial events (that always happen at miserable hours) is one of the very few benefits of chronic insomnia. 

Who could be droopy and sorry, though, when this is waiting for them in the living room upon arising? 

We call this Wide Stance. He assumes it when he is asserting himself. Such a guy. I'm very proud of Curtis because a quick check-in at the vet's today showed that he has dropped more than four pounds! He's a lithe 43.4 lb. and I am delighted about that. It's all about the crispy fall weather. Running weather. And run he does. I can't believe my companion is 7 now. Where do the years go? Well, we started the clock at Year 4. That's most of it. How I wish I could have loved him from Day One. But his life experience has made him the dog he is. He is the Most Wonderful Dog.


I walked out the meadow with him. First, there had to be zooms, and hiding. He doesn't hide himself very well; I think he thinks I'm blind.  He hides the way an adult hides from a baby. He lets me find him.


We went out the orchard next, and I got an idea. After a slowly spectacular near-total lunar eclipse, well, there might just be another surprise out there. Yes! The first frostflowers of winter 2021! The red blackberry leaf says it all. It's still fall, and they're already out.

I was so intrigued. There was a freshness, a pristinity to them I hadn't seen before. I think these are the earliest frostflowers I've ever found. Please click on each photo, because the detail is so beautiful, and these photos are so small.

One American dittany plant, its stems splayed, a flower on each one!

Being so fresh, and the first, these were tight, beautifully formed, close curling flowers. This one looks like a cone shell.

I almost threw this photo away before I saw the only in-focus part: a frost flower just forming in the rightmost dark stem! Wow! Do click on the photo to see what I mean. The stem is split, and the flower is just starting to protrude.

This one reminded me of Casper the Ghost's friend. Elmore? I can't remember his name. I love the way they're rising up into the frigid morning light. OooooOOoooOooo

There's something so delicious about seeing fresh frostflowers with green grass blades.

For those new to my blog, you can get the whole story on frostflowers and why they form at this post:

Please note that in this post, I had the plant incorrectly identified as pennyroyal when it is in fact American dittany. I was in the right family (mint), but it took awhile to ID the plant from the withered remains I found. I'm also bemused that last year's post is from November 22...pretty much right on target. See, that's the great thing about getting older. You forget when stuff happened, so everything is fresh and new all the time! Here I was thinking these were my first November frostflowers. Well, they're earlier by maybe two days...

This is a much better post about frostflower origins:

It's devilishly difficult to photograph American dittany (Cunila origanoides) complete with frosty skirts because the stems are hair-thin and just vanish in the clutter. But those small paired green leaves belong to the frostflower plant!

It's wonderful to get down and close with them, especially when there are still green leaves about.

Yes, it was a frostflower morning, and a fine one. Everything old is new again. I am continually amused by the wonders laid out for me to find. For that I am continually thankful. 

I made my way back up the orchard from the gasline cut where the dittany dances. I had long since misplaced Curtis; he was giving occasional bays from deep in Orchid Valley, safely in the middle of my land, and that was fine. 

I walked very slowly as the orchard was seething with birds. Gleaming cedar waxwings in the tulip tops, preening and cuddling. I love a bird that will sit touching shoulders with its friends. 

The winter wren that chimps at me every time I walk past Bill and Elsa's graves. 

And hermit thrushes. Man, do we have the hermits this year. I have a way of talking to them that, if I'm very patient and lucky, often results in their singing a few phrases. They're pretty territorial in winter, I guess, because my pitiful imitations of their songs and a much better imitation of their tchup! call bring them right in. Today, after much waiting, I was rewarded with November songs. Ahhhh how that conjures the boreal forest for me, even as I stare into a miserable tangle of Japanese honeysuckle in Appalachia. I do adore these little elves of the thicket. I'm so grateful they stay the winter here. All hail sumac and honeysuckle fruit; withered grapes and the odd snail or slug. 


I've been wanting to blog for a very long time, but just couldn't pull the trigger. I'm too busy. Crazy to imagine someone living in the middle of the woods being too busy to blog, but there you go. New ventures, new directions, good things. I miss writing to you. I especially wrote this one for Jeanne. 

I'll leave you with a Towertop Sunset. Sound up for a bonus white-throated sparrow, rambling adorably. Dootin-doo-doo, feelin' groovy! in a sparrowy kind of way. 



I could look at your frostflowers all day. How lovely! All I've ever managed to see is hoarfrost, and that was exciting for me. The moon was lovely too. Give Curtis a hug for me.

We had a beautiful moondog last night on the western shore of Lake Huron. We are visiting with friends at their lakefront cottage near Oscoda, Michigan.

Thank you Julie, you’ve made my day. The frost flowers are magnificent and Curtis Lowe has to be the happiest dog in America!

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