Sliver Moon Lessons
It’s the first night of a recent boundary waters trip with my friend, Rich. We’re camped on an island, sitting after supper on a large, flat granite outcrop twenty feet above the lake. We’re facing west, watching a silver sliver of young moon chase the sunset.
It’s following the orange-red ribbon that stretches across the western horizon and highlights the dozen or so scraggly pines towering over their neighbors – shorter, younger poplars that dominate the shoreline a few hundred yards away.
The silver sliver never catches the descending ribbon of red. The journey, however, changes them both.
The ribbon gradually shortens. The rich orange-red gradually fades – softening toward purple gray. The sliver of moon gradually changes color as well – moving from silver to gold and finally to orange. It thickens near the end, before disappearing behind a tree line barely silhouetted by the darkening sky.
Stars pop out, shining unhindered in the wilderness night. The cup edge of the big dipper points to the north star, the last star in the handle of a little dipper we could actually see. I remember reading somewhere that, at the north pole, the north star is always directly above.
I sit in gratitude for the beauty of this balmy, bug-free autumn night. I’m reminded how chasing rarely leads to catching, how the journey changes us, and how we all have an inner compass quietly orienting us to true north.