What color is magic? That might be a better question. A blue moon isn’t blue, just like magic doesn’t have any color either.  A blue moon only gets that name  when it appears full, twice in one month.  The derivation of it is a bit controversial, and doesn’t matter much to me, all the same.   The reason for this unusual phenomenon  is more interesting in the mechanics of it all.  Basically, it happens mostly in  months that have 31 days, since it requires 29 point something (itself a variable)   days for the moon to reach fullness.   This variance is due to the elliptical orbit the moon has around our planet.  Naturally, February, even in a leap year will never have two full moons.

Calculating the lunar cycle can be daunting, when one wades through the astrological parameters that affect the math, but for most people, it matters mostly just enough that it appears twice in one month, whenever that is.  Most people see a full moon as being “romantic”, rather than arithmetic, anyway.  Why is it that people think of love during such celestial displays? Does the moon really have some special power when casting its fullness over our earth-bound gawking?  Or does it even matter why? It just does, and that is good enough for me.

When on the river and camping under a clear night with  conditions that allow us to see the moon’s dance across the sky, some of the views are simply transformational.  Watching rapids and waves sparkle with a thousand points of flash,  as reflected by indirect sunlight bouncing off the moon, burns lasting images in my brain.  Sometimes the urge to row under such light and magic is too overwhelming and I gladly give in.

It is different, dipping an oar into that magic moonlight water.  With each soft stroke, it is beautiful to see a dazzling trail of shimmering diamonds falling off their tips and back into the river.  It sends a flight of excited shiver  down my spine and urges me to howl in ecstasy at the moon.

Even the shadows of ducks, mere silhouettes bobbing on the water under that same moonlight, is an eloquent display of nature’s nightly grandeur.  Ordinary things seen in the light of day, take on a mysteriousness that only the shadowy forms of the absence of direct light bring forth.

Anything seen in sunlight, looks so much different under the spell of the moon, despite it still being the same thing.  We see it with the same set of eyes, yet the receptors in each eye responds differently to light and dark. Rods allow us to see better in the dark,  and cones allow us to see color in the light. They both help us interpret things differently, because each is impacted by opposite sources and send appropriate messages to the optic nerve and main highway to our brain.

Rowing a boat under the soft light of the moon, enables fantasy fairyland apparitions to come alive.  Perhaps only in  our imagination do the unseen things reveal their presence,  but it matters not, when the illusion seems so real.  It is said that perception is everything, and for me, it is ok to dream on and let my mind make its own reality.  Dancing with creations in a fuzzy fantasy world is too enticing  not to do. So, having two full moons in one month, and enjoying them while floating the Salmon River is a special riverine treat for me, to help polish off another  whitewater season coming full circle once again.  Thank you Grandfather Sky.

Rivers make good medicine with us, we make good medicine with rivers.

For more river trip information, please go to our website: www.doryfun.com

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