“The moon is at her full, and riding high,
Floods the calm fields with light.
The airs that hover in the summer sky,
Are all asleep to-night.”
– William C. Bryant 1794-1879
Poet, editor of The New York Evening Post
My apologies for the forecast last week. With only two weeks of summer left, nature took over and slipped in one last heat wave. Perfect weather for a swim, our annual neighborhood block party and an evening at the Hollywood Bowl.
This time of year is one of changes and transitions – school begins, kids are off to college (sigh…), a few leaves are beginning to show fall color and farmers are harvesting this year’s crops.
The significance of agriculture is reflected in the name of the full moon. Usually occurring in September, but sometimes October it is referred to as “The Harvest Moon.” Farmers, in the days before electricity, depended on this light source as the daylight hours grew shorter. With clear skies at sunset predicted for Sept. 13, as the old song goes, “Oh Shine, shine on Harvest Moon up in the sky…”
As we picnicked before the concert last weekend, all eyes were on the sky as nature put on a pre-show spectacular. Subtropical moisture flowed into our area bringing clouds and brief rain showers. As the setting sun shined through the water droplets against a darker cloudy sky, rainbows of the most exquisite quality appeared. Some formed a complete arc across the sky, while another appeared as a wide vertical band of colors descending from above. At one point three rainbows were visible. Should I warn the musicians they will have a tough act to follow?
As darkness came, the concert began with an added accompaniment, though one not printed on the program. For some of us, it was as good or better than the real show! Nevertheless, it made for outstanding special effects as flashes and bolts of lightening filled and streaked across the sky. Keep in mind that this was simultaneously occurring with the orchestra’s music – nature’s perfect choreography.
Breezes cooled the electrified evening until just after intermission causing the woman next to me to whisper, “It’s getting kind of warm. You don’t think there is a fire in the hills behind us, do you?”
“No, just some offshore winds blowing,” I reassured, also feeling the blast of heat. It was a memorable evening in regard to the weather and as always the music.
Now back to the legendary Harvest Moon.
Like all full moons it rises in the east at sunset and shines all night long. Usually the moon rises, on the average 50 minutes latter every night, but at our latitude this one comes up around the same time for several nights. Once good for farmers, now for us night owls!
Too hot! This weekend brings cooler temperatures? Maybe 10 degrees and a slight chance of rain? High pressure may block this chance as low pressure from the north attempts to move in. We’ll see.
No matter the weather, we live in the U.S.A., and for that, I am grateful.
Remember Sept. 11 and display our flag.
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at