As I finish this column, I am sitting high in a white oak tree on the border of Alabama and Georgia overlooking a fallow field surrounded by a forest. I am bow hunting. I am also experiencing the peace that comes from being in God’s natural creation.
This weekend, I tried to focus on the event that the West Georgia Autism Foundation sponsored; Concert on the Farm.
While it was an overwhelming success, I have been restless since I awoke on Friday morning. It was the sort of unrest that is not exhausting. The best way I can describe it is that I felt a heightened sense of internal intuition, strength, and focus.
I am a Christian with many flaws. Yet, my personal relationship with God is stronger than it has ever been in my life. I believe that while I have turned away from him many times, He has never turned away from me.
I also believe that God creates events in nature for specific reasons.
Last night, I was looking for my sons as darkness fell and the music rose during the concert. Since the boys, particularly Reagan, are so in tune with nature, I walked toward the western sod bottomlands to look for them.
Sure enough, they were walking through the sunflowers and brown top millet when Reagan said, “Daddy, look to your left. It is an ancient moon.”
As I turned, I saw the largest and most deeply orange moon in my life.
It was the Harvest Moon.
Scientifically, the Harvest Moon involves the sun rather than the moon. The equinox is the time when the Earth’s equatorial plane is directly in line with the sun. At that time the length of the day and of the night are equal. This happens twice a year; once in the spring, around the end of March and again in fall, around the end of September.
The date of the Harvest Moon is not the same each year, as it is fixed by the appearance of the nearest full moon, which can fall on any date.
This is the time when many farmers reap their harvest. Farmers have used it as a marker in the annual cycle telling them when the growing season has come to an end and when to harvest their crops. The added benefit of a bright moon lengthened the working day at the busiest time of the farming year.
The orange tinge of the Harvest Moon results from the moon’s low placement in the sky. We have to look through more of the Earth’s atmosphere to see it. This also has the effect of making them appear very large, although this is an optical illusion rather than an atmospheric effect. The nature of the illusion, which happens in our minds rather than in the sky, cannot be explained by scientific means.
Interestingly, this full moon was actually at 100 percent on Friday, September 13th. A full moon hasn’t happened on a Friday the 13th since Oct. 13, 2000, and won’t happen again until Aug. 13, 2049.
With all of these events happening simultaneously, I performed some research on this phenomenon.
Some American Indian tribes believe that this orange full moon signifies the time to reap the spiritual fruit from the seeds planted during the Summer Solstice and beyond. The fruit, and the consequences they bring, flow from the seeds planted for good or evil. The planter will reap what the fruit bears.
Others believe that this moon’s influences resurface unfinished business for some people. In particular, emotional wounds needing to be resolved on a very deep level can be felt much stronger. Scales will be balanced, and karma will be front and center with this full moon. It can be a time to reflect, cleanse, and release.
These beliefs suggest that now can be a freeing and transformative time allowing people to surrender to the new beginnings that God has planned. The opportunity to welcome change, though maybe uncomfortable, into one’s life is believed to coincide with the Harvest Moon.
I am not suggesting that I share all of the above beliefs nor beliefs across the world regarding the Harvest Moon.
I am suggesting that somehow I have grown closer to God this weekend.
Regardless of how that happened, I am very grateful.