Monday July 6 2009
We've been riding in the evenings, to avoid the heat. This evening, Steph said, "If we wait till 8:00, we'll see the moonrise at 8:30." Sounded great!
We saddled up Rhett and Mac and Dudley and struck out to the east.
We rode, ambling along at mostly a walk and trot, trying to time it just right to see the moon rise up from the horizon in front of us. The skies were clear, the sun sank behind the Owyhees behind us leaving an orange glow in its wake...
but the moon did not come up.
As the time ticked by and we rode ever eastward, we surmised why.
"Maybe it's not coming up tonight."
"Maybe it's coming up in the west instead."
"We won't see it - It's like a layer in photoshop that somebody turned off."
"Maybe that was 8:30 in another time zone."
"Maybe it was 8:30 on July 6 in another year."
"Where IS the moon??"
Steph started howling.
The moon did not come up.
Soon we would be turning to the north, then west, so we wouldn't see the moonrise in front of us - the whole point of this excursion.
The horses helped out, their walks becoming slower and slower as they all started stopping for bites of rice grass. (Mac found the Mother Lode! It was up to his chest and looked like a wedding bouquet!) They stopped, they ate; we stared at the eastern horizon. I really started scanning the horizon in all directions... just in case.
Still the moon did not come up.
Our trail through the Badlands turned us to the north. It briefly jogged back to the east as we crested a little rise, and, perfect timing: "There it is!"
The Full Moon. (It was 9:30.)
We stopped to watch it, while the horses grazed away. You could actually see the moon creeping up above the earth.
It followed us over our right shoulders, then as our trail turned back west towards home, it rose higher behind us, glowing orange as it climbed the layers above the horizon.
Twilight darkened our trails, silent but for the hoofbeats of our sure-footed horses. My white horse was the only sure clear thing our human eyes could see.
Coming up the last hill, the horses in front of me were silhouettes framed against the last of the light in the western sky. The moon was high enough now to cast light shadows on the ground.
We heard coyotes on the last stretch, howling at the moon.