Saturday, November 19, 2005

Waning moon

Last night I went on the Eaton Canyon moonlight walk again. It's the first time I had been on the walk since the heavy rains of last winter, so I didn't realize how restricted the walk would be. They can no longer offer the "express" walk because of some major slides. There were a lot of people there last night, too, so it seemed crowded now that the full canyon is not safely accessible.

But, after getting over my disappointment at going on the "slow" walk and trying not to be too irritated with those in the group who kept using their flashlights and at how crowded it was, it was a refreshing evening. We stopped and noticed the difference in silhouette against the night sky of a sycamore tree and a California coastal live oak.

The guide pointed out the various ways plants had adapted themselves to survive during long periods without water, including the live oak with the waxy surface of its leaves and pointy edges that pierce water drops that condense on the leaves from the fog so that the water falls to the ground where the roots of the tree can absorb it.

We watched the moon rise a couple times over different ridges along the walk. The moon was still very bright although a few days past being full.

The walks will not be offered now for a few months to give the volunteers some time off. I was reminded that I need to participate fully in things while they are available. Because the opportunity might not be there forever. The rains may come and wash away many of the canyon paths. The volunteers need rest. There need to be interested, committed people to keep the canyon a wild place that can be visited in the midst of the city.

The street lights seemed obscenely bright after my eyes had adjusted to the moonlight (between annoying flashes of battery-powered light). So when I arrived home, I lit my oil lamps, did not turn on the TV or computer, and continued enjoying the calm of the evening without electric light or its accompanying buzz until I went to bed.

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