Jan. 13, 2017
Close to midnight: A gawd-awful howl rises from within the trees bordering our yard and sets the neighbors Labrador barking with menace. Then all is quiet. I turn off the lights, look out our windows.
I can see easily because the ground is white with hoarfrost, the sky is clear and the moon shines almost directly overhead, yet I can make out nothing that would have caused the dog next door to go off like that. I open the kitchen window and listen.
In the distance, coyotes yip and a neighbors rooster is crowing so I don’t think whatever made that howl here belongs to the pack harassing chickens twenty acres away. A small breeze causes evergreen boughs to chime as if they are millions of tiny glass shards trickling their way down an orchestra of rainsticks.
Earlier, my husband and I took a hike trough a local forest below shivering shades of bluish green. The temperature finally climbed this afternoon to maybe 32 degrees, the warmest it’s been in a while, and cabin fever demanded the excursion.
My fingers are so cold and it’s hard to be still when taking a picture in darkened forests without a tripod.
We traversed a partially frozen swamp near dusk and heard the coyote pack yip-yipping, alerting prey of the oncoming hunt, reminding us we were still a mile and a half away from the truck.
But sometimes you just don’t want the day’s adventure to end. It was dark by the time we made it into Sequim, so we swung the truck into our favorite Chinese restaurant and made our order to go. But while we waited (it would take 15 minutes to cook) I wanted to go to the park down the road.
My husband asked, “In the dark?”
So we drove to the park and got out of the truck and hiked a little ways. The temperature dropped and it didn’t take long for exposed fingers to freeze. We were up on a small hill when he pointed to the east, towards the Cascades, and said, “Look at that! What is that? Is that the moon?”
So I looked and there, rising over the mountains between Mount Rainier and Mount Baker, was a huge, red-orange globe. We raced back to the truck to grab my new Christmas camera, the one I spent today practicing with, and I tried in vain to find some nighttime setting beneath the dashboard light but the moon was rising and I had to do what I could on auto-focus.
“The best place to be right now,” I said, “would be the marina.”
“You want to pick up our food and then go to the marina?”
And so we did.
We had to watch our steps getting to the point because a layer of ice coated the pavement and the puddles left from the last snow melt. But here is the Wolf Moon rising over Sequim Bay.
Perhaps with the right camera settings and a tripod, the photo would have turned out better, but now, as I stand by the open kitchen window near midnight listening for more howls, searching for shadows crossing the hoar frost, I think everything turned out perfect.
Today’s assignment was:
For more information on rainsticks, here is a video that will help you hear what I heard on the night of the Wolf Moon, when breezes swept down from snowy mountaintops and caused evergreens to dance.