Michaeline: Tsukimi

It’s inspiring still: Golden moon in times gone by. One glimpse, and I’m sunk. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Tsukimi, or the moon-viewing night, was last Thursday, and I almost missed it.

What is it? It’s a ritual that was enjoyed by Japanese aristocrats in the Heian era (approx. the 900s). They’d go out in boats and watch the moon on the water. Or sometimes just sit on their veranda, and catch the reflection of the moon in their teacups, and write very, very short yet poignant poems. (Wikipedia)

This time of year was considered the best time to view the moon, and I have to say, the moon has been just gorgeous as it rose into the night sky this week.

On October 5 (my time), I was stunned by the pale orange moon rising into the still-blue sky on my way home. “Is it Tsukimi? Wait a minute, I thought. Wasn’t it the eighth? The moon is pretty full, but it looks just very slightly lopsided. Maybe I’m safe. Maybe it’s tomorrow.”

But no, as I checked my smartphone for evening entertainment, I noticed that the Google doodle was indeed a Tsukimi doodle. I went outside, but the moon was already almost directly overhead, and you know how the moon is so warm and large and full of love in the early evening? Well, by 9:30 p.m., it was cold and distant and pale.

Earlier? Glory.
Now the night is half over
And the moon sails on.

The next night, I was driving home from work, over the hills and down the dales, and there was the moon again. On the peaks, the moon was high in the eastern sky, and now a bit lopsided on the other side as it was waning instead of waxing, but when I dipped down into the valleys, it barely peeked over the pine ridges.

Oh! I think I see
A bald head over the hedge!
Hmph. Just the full moon.

Oh, how soon I get spoiled. The moon was still utterly gorgeous, but I couldn’t get over the image of a cheery, middle-aged man tootling around in his own backyard.

Last night, the moon was quite Halloween-y. The clouds veiled the rising moon, and yet it shone very brightly orange through the wisps of black. I should have written another haiku, but it seemed the moon wanted her privacy, and I didn’t have the heart.

At any rate, whether it’s autumn or spring for you, it’s a beautiful time of year to write some haiku. What’s catching your attention right now? Want to share?

4 thoughts on “Michaeline: Tsukimi

  1. There are some great pictures of the Harvest Moon on the BBC website today, Michaeline (apparently in times past we Brits used the extra light to harvest crops rather than writing haiku). They’re all good, but I love the one of the moon behind a shadowy ruined church–would make a great story starter. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41536317

    • Beautiful!

      In the States, we have a big football game around this time of year called Homecoming — I’m sure it was centered around harvest homecoming traditions, and I’m pretty sure it’s not really connected to the moon anymore. (“Witchcraft! Devil worshippers!”) It’s still kind of a big deal — the alums come back to school (sometimes) and there’s often a dance held. Or at least there was when I was a girl . . . I keep forgetting that it’s been more than 30 years since I was in high school!

      The moon is so incredibly bright these days. You could harvest; in fact, when my eyes were younger, I could even read a little bit by moonlight. I didn’t really feel this fact until I started taking short evening walks. That whole “the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave a lustre of midday to objects below”? (One of American’s best-loved Christmas poems.) Very bright! Not blinding, but things are quite clear in a way that they aren’t when the moon is small.

    • Oh, swoon! I wish I could get pics of the moon, but apparently it takes special filters and things. I will just have to imagine your Italian moon.

      There is something sad about autumn. No matter how gorgeous and lush it is, we know winter is coming. It’s about finishing things up — which makes rooom for new beginnings, of course, but it’s hard for me to think that way. I only think of the endings.

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