Last night I chased the moon. In response it taunted me, briefly poking out between trees and around buildings but never quite allowing the image I wanted in my viewfinder. Guided by my GPS I headed east along tree lined roads that prohibited me from seeing my quarry but knowing it was there. It was the second super moon of the summer and I had planned to ignore it, but it would not be ignored.
How quickly the unusual becomes the ordinary. Just a month before, I’d perched myself on the edge of a busy road and dangled over the bridge railing to get the shine I wanted on the Merrimack River. I was in a position so precarious that a passerby stopped for conversation in a minimally veiled attempt at preventing an imagined jump.
But this was Super Moon 2, less novel and less worthy of death defying feats. I’d stay safe and comfortable at my desk. But a couple hours before moon rise, the thought of ignoring a fairly rare phenomenon seemed too wasteful, and I began to contemplate the possible shots for my upcoming photo contest portfolio. Something with a farm and the moon together would be nice for the Topsfield Fair Farm Photography contest. My husband noted that I was a night late for the super-est moon. He’d done his tribute the night before and would not participate. An hour later he called up to me. “The moon is up. Better hurry.”
Three farms later and I gave up my dream of moon glow on silo and followed, not the star, but the moon to the east. I’d driven for about an hour often without knowing exactly where I was in the world as I concentrated solely on where I was in relation to the moon – always on the bad side. An Ipswich road sign showed me how far I’d gone without taking a single shot. So I stopped and took a couple of half-hearted photos of a mediocre moon just because it felt too embarrassing to quit with nothing to show for my efforts.
I tapped the “Return Home” icon on my Garmin and headed back.
The cratered private road that leads to my home must be taken in slow, slalom style to avoid a fractured rim. One of those swerves revealed the perfect moon. I angled my car inappropriately on our quiet street and leapt out, camera in tow. I shot pictures until the battery died in one camera and moved to the next. I was caught up in the moment, when an observant neighbor came out brandishing a heavy strobelight-emitting flashlight and asked me what I was doing. I told him, and he was comforted by my answer. But now with my eyes temporarily ruined by the strobe, I decided to call it a night, after all, 20-minutes of my 2.5 hour photo safari had born fruit. But only the editing room would reveal whether the fruit was worth the harvest.
Next morning I discovered that not one photo was contest worthy, but on the positive side, at least I found out I had concerned neighbors.
(c)2014 by Alison Colby-Campbell