I live in a fairly rural area, thanks to the state-owned reservoir and surrounding forest that cuts a swath through the region. Because it's a water supply for Boston, there is no recreation on the water save for fishing at the edge. Therefore, a drive or walk past the reservoir yields picture-postcard views of smoke rising off the water on chilly mornings in the fall and a Rorschach-like reflection of the trees when the water is still and smooth as a mirror. When there is no moon, the reservoir appears as a chillingly beautiful black expanse. But best of all is when the moon is full, and it illuminates the water and the tops of the trees.
To a gal brought up in the suburbs, hard by the industrial-strength malls of the Midwest, the whole concept of moonlight is fascinating. I never realized that moonlight wasn't just the lit-up moon in the sky, that the moon could actually light up the night, until I went to camp as a teenager. A few of us skipped out for midnight walk--with the full knowledge that one or more of the counselors were hiding in the trees ready to jump out and scare the pants off us--and we got to a clearing that was lit up. Where's that light coming from? I asked. One of the other kids said, from the moon, and I thought she was joking until I looked in vain for an electrical source and realized she was telling the truth. I stood there, riveted, looking up at the moon beam as if I were under the spell of an alien ship until I was, reluctantly, led away.
We spent the weekend in Vermont with our good friends in the Woodstock area who generously share their home and time with us. There's a reason why Moonlight in Vermont has a song dedicated to it, and we were lucky enough to have a full moon while there. At night, when I took the dog out, I didn't even have to turn the porch light on: the big, low moon--with Jupiter and the stars for company--shone magically over the mountains, and once again I was transfixed.