Moon Bloom?

The shift to colder weather coincided with a super moon and with that added nighttime magic and daytime snappiness came lighter moods and extra motivation to get out and explore.

Monday we chased the moon from one end of the valley to the other, trying for that shot where it lights up the snow as it sinks behind a mountain. To prepare, we watched some videos about taking moon shots (no inappropriate sites popped up, thank goodness) and gave ourselves plenty of lead time to follow the orb as it meandered up the valley.

super moon by connie sobchak

Now, that moon is a showy thing-lighting up the countryside and looming over the peaks as it does-yet it remains a mystery, really. The videos reminded us that no matter what kind of zoom lens we used, the moon is 384,400 kilometres away. Is it any wonder I was having trouble focusing? The best I could do, or really wanted to do, was take a picture of the valley bathed in pale light-attempting to recreate a scene from my childhood when I swear that immense orb was bobbing along in front of Mount Meager as I walked out to the bus stop.

We got some shots to commemorate this lunar occurrence and now are fired up for the next super moon in January when we might get a chance to consolidate our learning. But back to the magic of that moon-so bright it surely must germinate some rare vegetation; its light is less powerful than the sun’s, yet it is 148,961,560 kilometres closer to the earth. Seems reasonable to imagine it could prompt something to sprout, no?

As the moon wanes, I’ve looked for signs of new growth and over in the shadows of Signal Hill I discovered what I like to believe (and careful readers will note the errors in my logic) is a winter super moon loving crop. It’s a very exclusive class of vegetation that is called hair ice or hair frost and it differs from other frost in its formation and appearance.

hair frost by connie sobchak

At temperatures around zero, a fungus called Exidiopsis Effusa that is found in rotting wood prevents freezing moisture in the air from forming the usual crystalline shapes of frost and instead creates long, sometimes curly, strands of ice that resemble very fine hair. ( These blooms melt quickly in the sun but this time of year, the sun does not touch the south east shores of the lake. The curious growths glow in the shadows beneath the trees with not quite the lustre of the super moon but with much the same sense of magic and transitory beauty, though attentive observers might still catch them “blooming.”



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