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The Harvest Moon Shines Down on the Denizens of Mendocino County

Last Night’s Harvest Moon [Photograph by Matt LaFever]

The Harvest Moon shone down on Mendocino County last night in full luminosity throwing moon shadows across the earth and calling to the days when farmers were aided by the light to finish their fall harvest (hence the name).

The Old Farmer’s Almanac provides some more insight into the peculiarity of the Harvest Moon: as opposed to the Moon’s behavior throughout its other cycles in a calendar year, the Harvest will for “a few nights” rise at nearly the exact same time.

Another unique characteristic of the Harvest Moon is its recognition in China where this full moon calls forth the celebration known as the Festival of the August Moon or the Mid-Autumn Festival.

And now, some reflections on the Harvest Moon from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his poem “The Harvest Moon”:

It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
  And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
  And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
  Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
  And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
  Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
  With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
  Of Nature have their image in the mind,
  As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer’s close,
  Only the empty nests are left behind,
  And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

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