The laughter and conversations of an evening well spent still reverberated in my head as I drove home. Bright lights on, my truck trundled down the back roads of the island, swallowed up by twisted tunnels of tall timber. Turning south to the open meadows of Wax Orchard road, the moon hit my windshield like a backlit baseball. “Holy Moly!” was my articulate way of reacting, along with, “We are taking the long way home tonight.” (“We” being me and my truck, “Old Gray.”)
I chased the moon with a string of compliments and a giddiness reserved for sparklers. It was a supermoon indeed, beaming with a heady opulence and opalescence rarely seen in any sky. Puget Sound and Vashon Island obliged the show with spectacular view points. No shoreline was safe from its dance of light and no mortal eye could turn away from its performance.
I parked my truck on the north side of the Judd Creek bridge, and walked out to see the view that had almost made me run off the road. A young couple shared the high bridge and view with me. I apologized for my intrusion, adding I just wanted to take a couple photos of the amazing moon. Their smiles cordial, the responses terse, “no worries,” I still felt I was interrupting a personal moment, as both went about querying the other on likes and dislikes, and positions of great importance, like favorite movies and musicians. Their exchanges went from stalwart stand-offs to soft-pedaled maybes, and what started as a playful admonishment melted into awkward flirtation. They were somewhere very new, between having just met, being smitten and testing the waters of reciprocity. The moon shone brightly and willingly as a witness and conspirator to their budding affections.
The walk to the middle of the bridge is a generous distance, and the quiet night a perfect amplifier of any pedestrian’s verbose intentions. (Just to be clear, I was not eavesdropping, no really.) Truth be told, their conversation eluded me; unknown names and vague references familiar to those 30 years my junior, kept me from joining in and truly revealing my age (and wisdom, for that matter).
I bid adieu, but they didn’t hear me (or perhaps they did), as I headed back to my truck, though I was not ready to say goodnight to the supermoon just yet.
I turned right onto Quartermaster Drive, part of Tom’s Scenic Highway route, as it steers you off Vashon Highway, the main road down the spine of the island, and sends you along the waterfront on the east side of the island. The inner bay of Quartermaster Harbor is a very well-protected, if not lake-like body of water, rendering its reflections like wavy glass, rarely disturbed. I stopped briefly to capture a shot where the shoulder is soft and precipitously close to the shoreline. A string of distant headlights persuaded me to make my stop brief, as the road does not lend itself to looky-loos and rubbernecking.
Back in the truck, I turned north at Portage to venture a stop at Tramp Harbor. The moon now behind me, I assured it of my steadfast intentions: more supermoon ogling to come! At Tramp Harbor the residents of sleepy little Ellisport were assembled as if to view fireworks. I ran into a few friends and we stumbled around trying to find the right words to describe the night. The moon was magic, and the clear sky a perfect foil. I fear if we lived on a planet with two moons, we’d never get anything done.
While the sun is all business, the moon is pure illusion. A quiet journey across the sky, ducking behind clouds, clipping mountain tops, lighting up inlets. Such enchantment is all-consuming and rarely captured by the single click of a camera, or at least my camera. I can try, but the spell is cast in the moment: laughter on the beach, sparkling shore lights, moon shadows underfoot, and a breeze as gentle as a whisper.
The supermoon saw me home, and we shared a nightcap on the front porch. Her measured and glowing exit was a fine farewell. As the dogs and I headed upstairs, the moon granted one final wink through the trees and my failing window. Boz and Gracie barked, and I stood in awe and appreciation.
Buona notte, mia bella luna.
Until we meet again, September 27, 2015.