Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Called On Account Of Rain...

The Super Moon was a no-show for me on the night of the 10th. I knew it was up there above the rain...above the clouds. It was moving by in extreme perigee to the Earth, shining big and bright in the night sky...and I didn't get to see it. I love rain, but...all I can say is it was a big bummer.

I always look forward to each Full Moon, my trusty camera at the ready. I was hopeful that this one, the Super Moon, would be awe inspiring. In the week leading up to it I would look up noting each stage during the Full Moon's approach. The gradual reveal. Yes, it is very common during Summer here in the humid south to have a chance of rain each day. It's typical. As I said before...I was hopeful.

As with most of our storms, the thunder arrived first. It was extra grumbly, and quite loud at times. Then the rain sheets. Of course I had to venture out in it to take some photos. If it was going to keep me from seeing the Moon then I was going to photograph it instead.

By the time I got to the marshes edge my legs were soaked. I had an umbrella keeping my head and the camera dry. The hard driving rain and humidity clouding the air blocked sight of the Bull River, and everything beyond. The Bull River Bridge looked like it dropped off into limbo. The only hint of movement other than the falling rain were the bright spots of headlamps popping out of the fog when they started over the bridge.

My shoes were getting rather squishy, so I quickly snapped a few shots of the marsh and rushed back home. Back to enjoy the rest of the storm in a dry, more comfortable setting.

The following shots are from the night of August 11th. Not technically a Full Moon, but the closest I could get. Maybe if I had paid closer attention to the Moon in the days leading up to the 10th, I wouldn't have been so bummed...

There is an old saying: "Ring around the Moon means snow or rain soon." Folklore says that if there is a halo/ring around the Moon, rain is on the way. Some variations say that the number of stars visible within the light from the halo tell how many days until the rain arrives. Interesting...I wonder if the Moon had tried to clue me in? I'll be sure to pay closer attention before the Full Moon for September.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Full Moon In Aquarius...August 10, 2014...

(Artist: Yuxuan Li)
It’s time for the Full Moon for August 10, 2014, and it’s in the sign of Aquarius. This particular Moon is a Super Moon (the second one for this year). It has the distinction of being in extreme perigee to the Earth, making it the closest Moon of the year.

The prominent theme for this lunation is based in the emotional realm. As with all Full Moons some past issues can and usually will come to a head. These cycles are all about taking a close look at things in an effort to work towards resolution, and release. There are an equal number of ‘water’ and ‘fire’ signs represented in the planets, which could indicate a lack of cooperation and objectivity since fixed signs tend to hold sway. However, the Moon in Aquarius and Sun in Leo want to work together rather than against one another. Aquarius is putting its influence into the mix by promoting strong objectivity, and thinking outside of the box. Aquarius is the only representative for the ‘air’ element, so its objectivity is needed.

This is a more thoughtful, logical Moon. It can emphasize detachment on an emotional level which can serve as helpful and healthy follow-up to emotions coming to the fore. Sometimes we sit on issue related emotions that can be quite intense…which is probably why they were stuffed away. When going through a long held emotional upheaval this influence can aid you in seeing the ‘forest for the trees’…the facts behind the emotions. Feeling and owning emotions can be difficult, but to then take an objective look at the basis of the emotional upheaval is where the lesson(s) lie. Mercury is closely conjunct the Leo Sun, spinning things to the personal. This presents positive and enthusiastic energy that can be very helpful if taken advantage of.
Transiting Saturn in Scorpio is poised to throw a wrench into the works as it is creating a strong tension aspect to the Moon in Aquarius, Mercury in Leo, and Sun in Leo. The resulting pressure can dislodge emotions or energies that you’ve been quashing. Keep the focus where it needs to be…on you. Take a good look at the choices you have made and own them. Any perceptions or emotional responses that you have had should serve as lessons. What was your part and what can you do differently next time? Look at how ‘you’ got ‘you’ to where you are, and stay away from playing the blame game. Emotions can be heavy, but rather than try to speed through them allow them to slow their roll so you can examine things more closely. Anxiety and fear are two primary adversaries we face when dealing with emotions. Don’t deny anything you may discover. Some firey issues may come to a head, and you could be faced with some tough choices. Be patient. Be courageous.

Arian Uranus is trine the Sun and Mercury conjunction (both in the sign of Leo). Uranus serves as inspiration as it’s in harmonious aspect to both luminaries.
Transiting Saturn in Scorpio is making inconjunct with transiting Uranus in Aries retrograde. Re-channel your decision making process and your energies to aid in achieving a more healthy approach to emotionally based issues for the future. Making that sort of change isn’t achieved by trying to make it a ‘one fix wonder’. These things always need to be worked at, making adjustments when and where necessary. Approach things a step/a day at a time.

(Artist: David Palladini)
Mars in Scorpios square to Jupiter in Leo is on the wane, and is becoming a strong influence to the Moon. There is also a waning trine to Neptune in Pisces pulling back on some pressure, and a waxing sextile to Pluto in Capricorn strengthening the calmer energies. The fire led positions of the Sun, Uranus, and Mercury in Leo would prefer grabbing up the reins to move forward with optimistic vim and vigor, but Saturn and Mars in the water sign of Scorpio have something to say about that. The balance is necessary…water needs to make sure fire doesn’t go off half-cocked.

There is a lot of potential during this Full Moon in Aquarius to deal with some long ignored emotional baggage, and adjust how emotional issues are dealt with into the future so said baggage isn’t replenished. Strive for the higher truth, and stay away from applying in the moment band aids to things. You deserve to allow yourself the freedom to drop your inhibitions and to feel your emotions. Allow yourself to feel love. Love for others, and more importantly for yourself.

If there are some terms in the above that you would like to know the meaning of, follow this link to a great online astrology dictionary:

The following excerpt is from the Farmer's Almanac:
  • Full Sturgeon Moon ~ August: The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon since Sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it a the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Moon, A Moth & The Color Green...

The world is a place full of natural wonders, many of which I will never see firsthand. I’m fine with that. There is so much to see on a daily basis here on the marsh. Flora, fauna…Gaia’s handiwork. Sublime.

The other evening (this past Friday) I was sitting on the sofa after a busy day at work. Glenn was coming in after having a smoke on the front porch. He told me there was a big green moth on one of the solar walkway lights we have at the head of our front walk. It piqued my interest. He said “big”, but I didn’t think it would really be all that big. One person’s big is another person’s average. (okay, people…*snerk*) Before I went in search of my camera, I decided to investigate things first. Wanted to see just how “big” this moth was.

We are entering the final weeks of Summer here in the sticky and humid south. As with most places in the northern hemisphere sharing this hot season, the days are longer. No flashlight required until much later. Stepping out the front door, the air wasn’t as heavy as I expected, but it was still mid-evening. The overall energy outside was calm, and the light level was dimming by the minute. The solar walkway lights weren’t shining (they hardly shine at the best of times), but there was plenty of natural light to see by. Looking down to the left light there was the moth. Big and green it was. I’ll add beautiful to that description, too.
Crossing my fingers, I dashed inside to look for the camera. I’m so used to trying to catch photos of the other butterflies that flit around here. They aren’t very good at sitting still. Having to take a moment to get just the right focus to justify the beauty of them usually kills the photo op. After locating said camera I headed back out the door…
(My moth...a tad worse for wear...I'm wondering if he is post mating time, and headed 'out'.)
…and was relieved to see that it was still there. It hadn’t appeared to have moved a muscle. As the light fixture is quite low to the ground I had to get down to its level. Still it didn’t move. On closer inspection I saw that it was perched on what looked to be some abandoned spider web remnants. My first thought was “is it dead”, but after gently touching it with a dried pine needle I noticed it move a little. I proceeded to snap away.

As you can see from the above photo, this beauty was looking a bit tattered in the hindwing area. Otherwise, it was in beautiful shape. This is by far the biggest moth I have seen up close. Over the years I have marveled at the size and color of the bigger varieties of moths I have seen online in pictures. Royals, Emporers…even the Atlas moth which is bigger than many birds. Quite impressive. I decided my model had had enough, so I left it to its business and headed in to upload my pics and do some research.

This is a Luna Moth (Actias Luna), which is a Nearctic Saturniid in the family Saturniidae. (It’s also referred to as the ‘American Moon Moth’. It gets its name from the moon like spots on its wings.) The Saturniidae include the largest moths in the world: Royal and Emporer moths; giant Silkmoths. They are one of the largest moths in North America, and are found on the eastern half of the continent. Usually in the northern states, but they have been found as far south as Florida…and definitely in Georgia as my photo proves.

My moth’s wingspan was at least 4 to 5 inches. Its antennae were a bit ‘bushy’, so that means it was a male. Luna Moth mate after midnight, and the female lays her eggs the following evening. Fast, huh? The eggs are laid on the underside of leaves, and there are several host trees of choice (see picture below).

(Left top: Walnut; left bottom: Sweet Gum; Persimmon, Sumac, and lastly Hickory on the right.)
The mating and resulting egg laying is spaced every 8 to 10 weeks beginning in March. In the south there are as many as 3 per season. The female lays her eggs 100-300 at a time in groups of 4-7 eggs at a time. The eggs then incubate for 8-13 days.  After the eggs hatch, the caterpillars go through 5 “instars” before cocooning. (“Instars” are developmental stages that lead to a certain level of sexual maturity before entering the cocoon.)

(Starting at the top:
Moth eggs,
Caterpillar, Cocoon,
Pupal case)
When the time comes the newly formed moth will “eclose”, which is the hormonally controlled act of splitting the pupal case and emerging. On the morning of the emergence, the moths wings are small and soft. The typically large wings are achieved by the young moth pumping bodily fluids into them. It will then go somewhere safe while the wings harden, the process taking a couple of hours.

Sadly, these beautiful creatures don’t live long. They reach adulthood solely to mate. Saturniidae do not eat as they don’t really have mouths. They emerge from their cocoons to mate, and live only about one week.

The internet sources I consulted about these moths were divided on one aspect of the Luna Moth. How abundant they are. A few sources said that they are rare enough to be “endangered” in some areas. Other said that they are fairly common, but because of their short lives they aren’t seen by many people. Whatever the case may be I count myself lucky. If Glenn hadn’t looked down at our light he may have never noticed our green visitor. As tattered as he was, my viewing of a Luna Moth first hand was so special. After all, he is named for one of my favorite things…the Moon.

On my internet surfing on this subject I came across a site dedicated to tracking 'lepidoptera' sightings. (Lepidoptera include both moths and butterflies.) I decided to report my sighting, and now have a confirmed sighting post on their website. The following is a link to my entry on the site: In retrospect I would have left more articulate sightng notes...I didn't realize they would be publishing what I initially It is worth it to check out their moth and butterfly images. You'll see some beauties.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me...

This past Sunday was my birthday. Every birthday acts as a milestone, but this last one had me hitting the half-century mark…or the “big 5-0” as some call it. Do I feel that old? Some days, yes…some days, no. On a physical level, that is. I was lucky enough to have developed RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), and Carpal Tunnel later in life than some. (I know people who have had RA since they were teenagers, and even younger…that’s why I don’t refer to it as an “old persons” ailment.) If either of the aforementioned is acting up I can feel a tad, on a physical level I do feel older from time to time. However, on a mental level I have a favorite go-to saying:
In many respects I am the same person I was 30 years ago. Okay, so I have mellowed quite a bit and I have had a lot of experiences that have shaped me as a human being. Over all I think I’m a pretty cool person. I’m not stuffy, close minded, or prone to the phrase opener, “Well, back in my day…”. I don’t wear pantsuits, attend regular visits to the hair salon to get my perm touched up, or order tacky embellished Quacker Factory sweaters off of QVC. Nope…that’s not me…at all. I feel pretty safe in saying that will never be me. I am very much an individual. Creative, open minded, and grounded. I write, paint, and dabble in many other creative arts. I have a great sense of humor, am prone to sarcasm, and I am very accepting of others. I have a very eclectic taste in music that ranges from Chopin to The Jam to Audioslave to the Divine Comedy. I have always been a t-shirt and jeans kind of person, and still am. Yea, it’s pretty safe to say that at my core I’m still the same person I’ve always been. Life has just taught me some things that have reshaped a few aspects of ‘me’.

(A bit of birthday Morticia posted by friend Anna)
Over the years I have lessened the usual pomp many expect for their yearly age lap. I subtly tip my hat as I pass by, but that’s about it. This year things were very mellow which was fine by me. I did get quite a number of birthday nods via Facebook. I have reconnected with friends I lost touch with years ago on the social site, and have made many new friends from all over the globe. Family members; Friends from high school; fellow DJs from my college days; people I worked with years ago; friends from my years as a member of a Los Angeles theater group (I lived on the west coast for a number of years); friends of mutual friends. I made quite a few friends on a forum site for fans of a particular 1980s band, and we’ve reconvened on FB. I’ve also made a few friends via this blog. The social aspects of the internet can be a beautiful thing. No, I don’t really do anything to celebrate my birthday, but it was nice seeing those ‘Happy Birthday’ messages on my Timeline.

(Shire birthday wishes from friend Spike)

(A double shot of birthday wishes Hiddleston style from BFF, Caron...yes, I have a

I did receive a few things via the mail. A card from my dad, and step-mother. My dad wrote, and I quote, “To the most special blossom in the bouquet.” I saw an invisible *snerk* attached to the end of that…I don’t doubt it’s sincere, but I also think he expected it to illicit an eye-roll from me. (*snerk*) Which of course it did. I got a nice card from my brother, and sis-in-law (picture to the left). The inside says, “Another year is toast.” That about sums it up. A great picture of the two of them with my two nephews at my nephew Karl’s graduation was enclosed. I also got a nice card from my boyfriend’s mother. Nice surprises they all were.

My boyfriend bought me my tag renewal for my Audi. Something I needed, and when asked what I wanted I suggested that he get as my gift (TY, Glenn...XOXO). I received a nice surprise from friend, Caron, who I met many moons ago on Myspace (when Myspace was cool…I miss the old Myspace). She and I are like minded on a number of things including our beliefs in the realm of paganism, and the package held a few items in that vein. A thoughtful gesture from a great person and special friend.
How does it feel to turn fifty? Honestly, it feels like any year. I don't really feel old, but I have been thinking about what I have been through and accomplished, and what I would like to do in the future. There are a number of things I have wanted to do for a long time that I still have yet to do. Some believe that destiny plays a huge part in our lives. I think it does to an extent, but there is so much about the future that is unwritten. Yes, I think certain things happen for a reason, and certain people come into our lives for a reason. There is still so much that isn't chipped into life's stone yet. We all hold our own hammer and chisel. It is through our heads and hearts that our stories flow. We have choices that influence our paths over the uncharted lands we walk. I have some personal goals that I want to shoot for, but I'm not going to move ahead with blinders on. I'm going to check out the scenery along the way. I'm writing my story as I go, and mine is going to have plenty of footnotes.