Fire Moon


My week started serenely, with Sunday’s full moon floating over the hills surrounding Linden Vineyards, Virginia. I was there in the late afternoon taking down my “Paris Leaves” exhibit, and I glanced out the big terrace windows as darkness engulfed the vines. My eye caught a bright orange glow at the top of a nearby hill. My instinctive thought was “fire!” immediately replaced by awe as December’s huge “supermoon” crested the back of the hill. It rose in orange splendor, enormous and clear, and its glow had the warmth of firelight. I’ve returned to that image often this week as I’ve watched the devastation of the Thomas fire in Ventura County, California. Our East Coast family has had a front row seat on the horrific events, as our West Coast family has dealt with evacuation, homelessness, and unbreathable air. The Santa Ana winds off the dessert wreaked havoc with the fire, pushing it at unbelievable speed across the drought-parched landscape. The beautiful hillside where we attended a family wedding only a few weeks ago (and where our son and daughter-in-law were married) was swept by the racing fire, leaving ash and flame-gnarled trees, though the house below was saved. Family members are still waiting for water and electricity to be restored before authorities will allow them to return to their homes spread throughout the area. And the fire continues to rage across the mountains, even as the moon begins to wane. From the hellish destruction of fire to the cool tranquility of the rising moon, Nature’s range is sometimes hard to fathom.