Be Surprised!

Two nights ago, I witnessed the most marvelous moonrise I had ever seen. 

The moon was one sliver shy of full, which only added to the rarity of the experience. 

I was driving at the time, and couldn’t stop to admire the moon or photograph it. I could only keep driving and keep marveling. 

What I loved most about the whole experience, was the surprise in that first moment I glimpsed the moon.

I wrote this poem today. I hope you like it.



P.S. The photo after the poem was taken last night (by me), the day after the Surprise Moon. Because the moon rises about one hour later each night, last night’s moon rose in the dark. Still spectacular, still surprising. 

Surprise Moon

Driving a tangle of highways 
through the slightly scary 
industrial lands, 
my car rises up on one of the many 
roadways over roadways, 
suspending me 
in a clearing of sorts,

just enough for the pastel blue sky to deliver 
on a silver platter of factory rooftops 
a gigantic luminous moon

a peach from God’s basket 
that should have fallen 
on an evergreen mountain in Maine 
not here, not at sixty miles an hour 
on a potholed road.

I shout with glee, 
things I cannot remember, 
half sentences, a child overtaken 
by delight

Nowhere to stop and pull over and marvel, 
I keep driving, heading deeper 
into the knotted roadways of the cities 
that line the Hudson River, 
stopping and squeezing and inching
through traffic

which is the oddest of gifts, 
offering me vignette after vignette 
of the urban moon, 
peeking around a warehouse, 
sitting like a jewel above a rowhouse, 
and wedged between these lofts and those.

Never has a moon been set 
this large, this orange 
against a sky 
this clear, this bright.

As I wind down the final cliff, 
the moon hovers 
like a cantaloupe-colored spaceship 
over the spires of Manhattan 
gilded by the sun just setting behind me.

Seatbelted in awe, 
I wonder, who should I tell? 
Who would care this much?

And then I wonder, 
who might care about me 
this much, enough 
to orchestrate an errand in urban traffic, 
just so I could be surprised.

Here’s the moon through my camera, last night, the day after the Surprise Moon…


Possibilities, the Full Moon, and a Workshop

When I woke last week at 5:40 in the morning, I caught the full moon retiring in the still-black sky. Within minutes, it tangled itself in the oaks that are still holding fast to their brown curls. An hour later, as the sky brightened, I wondered, should I leave the warm comfy cove of blankets and drive to a hilltop to photograph the setting moon with the mercury dipped unseasonably below 20 degrees? No. Nah. Uh… Yes. Within 4 minutes I was out the door into the shock of cold. Minute by minute, the moon was sinking closer to the horizon. I drove a few miles until found a decent hilltop. The sun pitched a glaring fire behind me, and the moon, light as a slip, peeked shyly from a fringe of young treetops. I got the shot.

Did I have a tripod and take a world-class photo? No. But I did it. I did the thing I set out to do. And it was exhilarating. Sometimes, though, I don’t do it (whatever the it might be), or I don’t even set out. That’s because sometimes I get stuck in the sea of possibilities. Sometimes it’s just a puddle of possibilities that trips me up. Either way, I don’t get going. I swim and swim in my thoughts. But that day, I deliberated for under 30 seconds. And I did something. Not the perfect thing. But, the thing.

I recently flew across the country to San Diego to attend a conference for creative women. On top of fun and fabulous, the conference turned out to be incredibly practical and deeply insightful. Before we got into the tough stuff, we were asked to choose a word tattoo to place on our body somewhere. I had to glance over the list, and choose a word that spoke to me on some level. I chose possibilities, but it felt more like possibilities had chosen me. I didn’t really want that word. I already have notebooks, mindmaps, and cabinets full of ideas and possibilities. Sometimes they weigh me down because, as I said, I swim and swim in that sea. The last thing I needed was more stuff to swirl around in. Then it hit me. What I needed was a new way to relate to possibilities. A way to let them rise up around me and follow me like a glitter cloud, and yet be able to just choose one. Any one. And go.

Without mulling over my other tattoo options, I promptly sponged possibilities on the soft inside of my forearm. Huh. It looked oddly natural, as if it belonged to me in a way no other word would have belonged.

The little black script has since washed away, but its spirit lingers. Capturing the full moon in the pale morning sky last week, I sensed the dawn of a new friendship between me and my possibilities. I didn’t take the perfect shot of the moon. I just took a good one.

On December 8th, I’m offering an online writing workshop! I’m so excited because writing is one of my favorite ways to work through possibilities! I’ll be sending out more information on the workshop in a day or so. I hope you’ll join me!

So here’s the moon and your possibilities. Here’s to taking the shot from wherever you wind up, less than prepared, in that less than perfect circumstance. Maybe the shot you take will even be a good one. But no matter what, your day will be better because you took it.



Monday Morning Mary: What Mary Saw

Full Moon Before Eclipse

What Mary Saw

A few gathered on the grassy hill
with cameras and telescopes
to see a plate of darkness slide
across the full moon.
Others watched a sitcom, unaware.
This is the way with all miracles.
They happen
whether we notice them or not.


Full Moon Closeup

I took these photos during Sunday evening’s full moon / lunar eclipse event, including the one of Mother Mary.


Moon Eclipse Starts

The darkness coming in from the left.

Mary During the Lunar Eclipse

Mother Mary, always there, in darkness and in light.





Monday Morning Mary: Resurrection

Resurrection Moon vertical


Take a chance.
Pull off the woolen hat
that muffles your ears.
Listen to the birds.

Set aside how cold you feel
and sense the deeper
thing, the secret
moon that rises
in you, pulling
the waters of your
soul to new shores
where something wild and
unexpected, awaits
your creative embrace.

Moon photo courtesy of Jay Racanelli

Monday Morning Mary: She Who Loves the Moon

She Who Loves Us


Monday Morning Mary: She Who Loves the Moon

She Who Loves the Moon
finds delight
in all things that traverse the heavens,
solid or ephemeral

She finds red swans in the sunset,
counts a thousand colors in the gain of twilight,
strings a necklace of jingling stars,
hears a lullaby in every leaf

How can we
who scurry inside our boxes and machines
experience infinity,
its mystery and beauty,
if we do not exit our created confines
and allow ourselves
to be surprised by the growing curve of the moon?

Without wonder
we wither.