Messages from Moonwater
Quiet Beginnings Until Chinese New Year January 20 2023, 0 CommentsThe pressure of January first in our culture to start the new year full of intentions and resolutions after the holiday’s excesses and busyness. Instead the Lunar New Year of Asian cultures better fits my mindset and natural rhythms. Cleaning house after the holidays to welcome a new year in late January or early February suits me to a T...
Lessons about Time from a Virus December 22 2021, 0 Comments
It's three days before Christmas and this year's Moon & Meteor calendars have just arrived. Now I can wrap them, decorate the package and ship them off to my Moonwater friends who have placed their orders. They'll likely not arrive "in time". I'm so sorry for this.
I take quality control very seriously. And though I saw a hard proof and a soft proof, the first shipment was not correct due to a technical error with the printer. So they needed to be reprinted and it took time to troubleshoot the error, reprint and ship them.
We've all heard about "problems" with supply chains and shipping, labor shortages due to people "just quitting their jobs", and the real stress on our collective and individual mental health from the changing trajectories of the virus over this past year. So many have lost loved ones. So many have been working long hours to care for our sick family and community members. I feel so humbled and thankful to have good work, health, and love that being "on time" is a stress that I'm laying aside for now.
In this time of staying home, we've gifted our children more time with their parents. In this time of wearing masks, we've been reminded that we can care for our community in small gestures. I'm seeing a bit more patience in my working life and a sincere desire to stay in touch even if it's through a glowing screen.
So I hope you'll take the time you need to rest, reflect and look up as we end 2021 and get ready for a bright new 2022.
I haven't promoted the calendar this year because of this delay. But now, I'm inviting you and anyone who you think would enjoy marking time by the moon to order a calendar to arrive in the new year and even before the Lunar New Year on Feb. 1, 2022.
Back after a pause, a new calendar for 2021 November 27 2020, 0 Comments
2020 has been a transformative year in so many ways. For me it's spelled a return to my home, a completing of a transition with recognition that we can renew ourselves by tapping into what we love and value. What grounds us. Returning to the familiar doesn't have to be a step backwards, there's always possibility for reinvention.
I have always loved calendars. The promise and space they hold for renewal with each new day, the next week, next month, or new year.
And I'm always fascinated by the cosmos, nature and the interplay of science and art. So I'm back to it, designing a new calendar for 2021. In this year's calendar design, the color indicates the different darkness of the night sky when there's a full moon or a new moon. So viewers can more easily get an impression of how well meteor showers may show. When they're close to a full moon the ambient light of the moon reduces the contrast enough that some of the smaller lighter meteors may not be visible. There's always variety in the show year to year. But this visual indication will assist in noting which ones may be better viewed.
Finally, I'm exploring lexicon more — gathering up fun sky words. This years calendar starts with the basics like "apogee" and "perigee". I'll always try to inform and delight.
Philately and the moon—an interactive solar eclipse experience May 22 2017, 0 Comments
I'm a designer. So I love when my interests in the moon and sky intersect with the world of design — this time in stamps.
I love physical mail. Postcards from far off places; handwritten letters and cards; magazines of all types are presents of visual delight arriving at my doorstep. What could be better? I always make the postal worker take out the plastic sleeve of pretty stamp options rather than getting a roll of 50 flag ones. So imagine my excitement when I heard about a stamp designed specifically for this year's solar eclipse!
It's not only a beautiful design. It's interactive. Something magical happens when you press it down on the envelope.
Here's more information about the stamp which will be available on June 20th. See you in line at your nearest post office.
Meanwhile mark your calendar for August 21st for the solar eclipse.
A walk in December to reset a frazzled mind December 13 2016, 0 Comments
It's mid-December. A time of busyness and the typical swirl of emotions that come with the holidays. And the overlay of the transition in the political arena this year adds undercurrents of uncertainty and dis-ease.
So this week, even though you're too busy, or too tired, or too anything, take yourself outside and walk around the block. Once you're out you may wander further. Cast your gaze up and catch a shooting star and make a wish. Set an intention for one beautiful gesture. One moment of ease. One thought of a loved one or someone who needs a little extra dollop of love. Perhaps it's you. When you return to your warm house I hope you feel refreshed and inspired.
The Geminid meteors are doing their dance, peaking on the 12th and 13th. I love these meteors because at this time of year, there's a crystalline quality to the air. This December though, there will be a full moon lighting your way so it may be very difficult to see them. If you do, count yourself blessed.
Happy Holidays and much love to you.
We owe our life to the Moon (and puddles...) January 11 2016, 0 Comments
I’ll begin this year’s posts with an audacious statement:
We owe life itself to the moon.
Well, actually the puddles left by the tides.
I’m no scientist, but in some recent reading about the moon, I discovered a fascinating snippet: We actually owe life on Earth to the moon. Crazy huh?
Here’s the story: When the moon was formed it caused a fluctuation in the Earth’s orbit, which eventually slowed down Earth’s rotation and moderated the tides. These changes were essential for forming the biological building blocks of life.
Want proof? Walk along the ocean’s edge and look into a few tide pools. You’ll see a remarkable variety of life in there. As ocean waves splash up on the rocks during high tides, the rocks trap the water and the sun heats it up, gradually creating a concentrated soup that supports the processes necessary for creating life. So puddles are actually little bassinettes for baby life forms! Who knew?
I suspect that at the root of our fascination with the dull rock we know as the moon there may be a deep seated memory of its influence on life as we know it. The Sun is essential for providing light, warmth, and gravity for sure. But it was the Sun and moon together, weaving in and around each other, that eventually produced the right cadence and sequence to create life on Earth; an unbelievable range of creatures, in fact, capable of surviving in an equally astounding range of climatic conditions.
So now when I look up at the moon I say, “Thank you.” for keeping our orbit a little lopsided and for dancing with the Sun to create the beautiful ebb and flow of the tides.
And puddles. Thanks for those, too.
Here is a great article from Scientific American to fill out the story in more scientific detail.
The Gift of the Geminids December 12 2015, 0 Comments
Over the next several nights our paths cross with the Geminids. We are blessed with a New Moon and a long night — perfect meteor-viewing aspects. I always hope for breaks in the clouds to see these winter meteors.
I first saw them on a crisp cold December beach walk. Our beach walks typically amble north, to the point, which is where to look in the sky for this shower. I didn't know at the time this was one of the nights for the shower.
Surprised by a long bright shooting star that caught the corner of my eye. Was it? Look there's one. As we continued along out to the dragon and back, we saw a scant few. The exertion had warmed us enough, we decided to sit at the lookout couch just above the beach until we had seen five more.
This time with my son home from college was so treasured. Even if I became chilled, I'd not break the spell of time with him. No distractions from a wandering conversation about life and the mysteries it lays before us, while we looked up for a fleeting bit of magic in the sky.
Look there's one!
. . . . .. . . . .. . . . ... . . . . ...
The Geminids peak Sunday evening this year. Bundle up and find a beautiful dark place to enjoy them.
The moonwater movement & "Friluftsliv" March 13 2015, 0 Comments
The moonwater movement is about getting outside and looking up. Disconnecting from technology and engaging with nature. Taking a moment to breathe in and take note of the wonder surrounding you. Not only nature, also the people in your world.
It's as simple as putting your phone in your pocket as you walk out for lunch and noticing the impossibly varied faces of the people you pass by on the sidewalk.
Or looking up just a bit more to the embellishments on the facades of old buildings you pass every day and hadn't noticed until now.
Or taking the longer view to the horizon or sky at the end of the block.
Or in the evening tearing yourself away from the screen to simply walk around the block to enjoy the night sky, quietly attend to the different sounds of the neighborhood at night.
Or stay out even longer, with enough time to let your eyes adjust to the dark, hold still and see what animals might come back out.
Witness the wind pushing the clouds along illuminated from below by the lights of the city. Feel the hush, cool, dark of the night infuse your cells with nourishment before bed.
Even if you live in the city or suburbs, these small moments allow you to have a small taste of "friluftsliv". A wonderful Norwegian concept that is loosely translated "fresh air life"
I'll be writing more about this lovely Norwegian concept in future blog posts.
We meet at sunset February 15 2015, 0 Comments
We meet at sunset and breathe in blessings from the day.
We pause in gratitude and enjoy the spectacle of the wide open sky.
We run up to the roof when the light is right.
Our cloud studded sky the canvas,
corn silk yellow to amber, rose violet to indigo.
in a slow 360, reflections golden windows east, alpen glow dusts Rainier,
rooftops and branches silhouette the land,
while brush stokes of ivory gray and snow white on sky true impossible blue,
and finally the decisive crisp contrail pencil stroke fuzzes to water color
blending into night.
Taking time and back again January 01 2015, 0 Comments
Hi, it’s me Moonwater.
I’ve been away for a while.
One of those times when things come in threes. Three of our precious elders all fell and landed in the hospital between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Moonwater product development and holiday preparation stops. Attention is given then. Work is delayed for a while as we tend to those we love.
We try our best to navigate and find the right route. We know the eventual destination but it’s not our journey. It’s our elder’s journey. We’re just copilots at the ready to take over in moments of crisis or doubt that require a second well-considered opinion or difficult decision.
Having been here before, I know there is no pat answer. No roadmap really. No easy step-by-step guide. No actual timetable. That’s the confounding beauty of it. An indeterminate intermezzo, demanding that we be present while still doing the ordinary activities of living.
I am back to work now as my sweet sister-in-law and husband take the lead. I will undoubtably step out again sometime soon. Still it’s an exciting new year, cleared of some of last year’s clutter. A new canvas on which to paint and design, write and wonder.
Happy New Year.
Water Worship September 17 2014, 0 Comments
I worship the healing properties of water — physically and emotionally — it always does the trick. Restoring life to the places in me that have died. Here's a poem for Water Wednesday.
- - - - - - - -
Sometimes total immersion
is what is called for.
the shock and awe of beautiful water
sheds anxiety's slimy sweat.
exertion fashions an equilibrium
of water cool,
Surrender, release, allow.
with each exhale.
© 2014 laura urban perry
Comet trash is night sky treasure Friday, May 23rd May 23 2014, 0 Comments
What good fortune that the first night of a holiday weekend — Memorial Day weekend, no less — we are blessed with a new meteor shower. The nearly unpronouncable Camelopardalid meteor shower.
Predicted but not certain, astronomers guardedly optimistic. The good news is that those of us in North America have the best chance of catching it Friday evening and early Saturday morning . We'll pass through comet debris and with luck comet trash will be turned into night sky watcher's treasure.
So get outside tonight and witness a new star gazing event. Look toward the North Star. Here's a short video from NASA.
As for me, I'll be kayaking and pausing to look up. Dark waters and waning crescent moon allow for the good contrast of a dark sky to showcase any shooting stars.
Sending blessings and love to those who are skipping on the stars this weekend.
Imagining the Lyrids April 22 2014, 0 Comments
Today is Earth Day and I wanted to do a poetic post about getting outside to celebrate the Earth and the beautiful sky that provides us with a show every night. Especially on this night. Yesterday and tonight are the prime times to view the Lyrid meteor showers that grace us with their appearance each April.
But tonight's forecast is cloudy for our Seattle skies. I've lived here long enough to know you get outside anyway because forecasts are often wrong for a percentage of the time.
70% chance of rain means 30% chance of no rain, right? Glass half full?
Still it's looking like our opportunity to see one of the better meteor showers of the year is not likely for those of us in the Seattle region. For Moonwater fans in other drier climes, please get yourselves outside tonight to catch some falling stars. The best times are reported to be before dawn on the 22nd and through dawn on the 23rd.
The Lyrids are bright often leaving trails and usually about 10 -20 but sometimes surges to 100 per hour. Look near Vega in the constellation Lyra to see them in the east.
Here's where to look in the sky:
Regardless of the weather, I will wake before dawn, go up on the roof and look east, because shooting stars remind me of magic—imagining of our loved ones racing across the heavens.
New moon blessed beginning to 2014 December 31 2013, 0 Comments
We start 2014 with a new moon. It also happens to be what they recently call a "Super Moon" meaning the moon happens to be closer to the Earth then normal. This can sometimes cause higher highs and lower low tides. This New Year's we see a very low tide at night.
New Moon days are great times to rest and reflect on what you want and how to move with intention into the next cycle of days. What's your next best move?
With each passing day over the new two weeks, we get to enjoy a little bit more daylight and moonlight until the Full Moon on the 16th. Gather up your creativity and good intentions and spread a little light around this new year.
Happy 2014 from Moonwater.
Shine On Harvest Moon September 19 2013, 0 Comments
Tonight's Full Moon is my favorite full moon of the year. This year we enjoy the double pleasure of it occurring right near the Autumnal Equinox. While the sun sets due west, the moon rises in the East.
The amazing design of a full moon experience is that it lights the evening sky all night long since it rises at sunset and sets around sunrise. Generally, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each night after the full moon. As we head towards Winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the moon rises farther north on the eastern horizon.
Want to learn more about the Harvest Moon?
The Big Summer Light Show This Weekend August 08 2013, 0 Comments
The Perseid meteor shower is a favorite in the Northern Hemisphere. Occurring in the clear skies of August, the shower usually offers up to 60 bright meteors an hour.
For those of us on the west coast, the peak is in the daytime of the 12th, so the show may not be as intense as in years past. This shower is a long one though, so you’ll get the chance to see random shooting stars over several days. It’s a great time for the outdoors with friends and family, where you can sit back after a long day of hiking and enjoy the show.
Make sure to mark your Moonwater calendar on the nights of August 11-13!
Thanks to Jeff Rose for this great photo.
Super Moon Lights Longest Night June 21 2013, 0 Comments
This year spring and summer we have three Super Moons where the full moon coincides with the moon at Perigee. June's Full Moon is the most supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Why? It's when the moon is closest to the earth in the Northern Hemisphere and it's so close to the summer solstice. Following the summer solstice, the full moon lands on Sunday, June 23rd.
On the 23rd, the moon rises at around 9:30pm just after the sun sets in the Pacific Northwest and it sets just after sunrise. We'll be able to enjoy such well lit nights this weekend, I hope you'll stay up late and play in the moonshine.
PS. Help Support PhotoCenter NW
I'll be participating in Long Shot event put on by the Photo Center NW. A full day starting at 6pm Friday the 21st to 6pm Saturday the 22nd to photograph your world and participate in an exhibition at the Photo Center in July all the while benefiting and supporting this incredible organization. If you'd like to support me or other photographers, make a donation. And come to the Photo Center in July to see the exhibit.
Tonight's Full Moon is Super May 25 2013, 0 Comments
Today's Full Moon is a Super Moon. This is a recently coined term meaning the full moon is near or at Perigee, when the moon is closest to the Earth. Here's wishing you a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend with opportunities for no flashlight night walks and beautiful sails as the moon's reflection paints a path across the water.
The Moon Hulahooping Around the Earth April 16 2013, 0 Comments
Yesterday the Moon was at "Apogee"– the farthest point from the earth in its monthly rotation. It has less gravitational pull at apogee so you see lower variation in the high/low tide levels and lower tides in general. The low yesterday for Seattle was 0.1 and the high was 10.5. The opposite holds true for when it's at "Perigee" — closest to the Earth. The next perigee will be on April 27th. The low on that day will be minus – 2.6 for Seattle and the high will be + 11.9.
Our oceans are pulled this way and that in accordance with the hulahooping cycle of the moon.
Another Sky Note: The Lyrid Meteor Showers are coming up this weekend. They'll be peaking just before dawn on Monday April 22nd. Starting today and through the week when you walk at night you may catch a shooting star!
Equinox light and energy returns March 26 2013, 0 Comments
Last week March 20th was the Vernal Equinox, when day and night are equal in both hemispheres. We celebrate the Spring Equinox at our cabin on the beach with friends as close as family.The gibbous moon timed perfectly this weekend to light the night sky so no flashlights were needed. The trees still unadorned with spring leaves allow the moon light in, casting long shadows even on paths normally shadowed by foliage. We walk the beach both day and night. Our tight knit community helps raise our kids in nature. We care for each other with respect, humor and kindness.
Our daughter was not there this year. She is sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from Summer in the Southern hemisphere, just crossing the Equator at the equinox into Spring again in the North.
This winter was a dark one. And we have emerged full of hope and light. Renewal and rebirth. With the earlier morning light and later dusk, our energy returns and we're inspired once again to build, create and make meaningful connections.
So too with Moonwater. Happy Spring.
A perfect dark sky for the Geminid shower December 10 2012, 0 Comments
This week we have a perfect combo for meteor watching:
A new moon dark sky canvas on which to paint the colorful Geminid meteors!
For some, the Geminids is a favorite shower because these meteors have different colors and are plentiful at 50 or more per hour. Its display rates up there with the Perseids in August as the best of the year, if the moon is dark.
You can watch from late night around 10pm through to the wee hours of the morning of December 13-14th. The peak should be around 2 a.m. is when the shower’s radiant point is highest in the sky as seen around the world.
Let's hope for a clear sky. Get your warmest sleeping bag, a thermos of hot toddy or cocoa and a comfortable lawn chair and enjoy the show with your kids or loved ones. What better legit reason to stay up late on a school night?
November’s Full Moon November 28 2012, 0 Comments
The Full Moon this month lands on
November 28th. This full moon also includes a deep penumbral eclipse,
easily visible to the naked eye, appearing as a dusky shading on the northern
half of the Moon.
If you’re lucky enough to be in
Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, and most of Asia, you’re in the right place
see the eclipse. Alas, the show begins after moonset for the Eastern US and
Canada, but those of us on the western side of the continent may be able to catch
part of it. Here’s hoping for clear skies around 9 or 10pm here in the
Thanks, NASA, for this information.
Walks at night, an exciting delight November 24 2012, 0 Comments
It started with my Mom; the walks at night thing. It was my brother Baird’s job to take out the garbage after dinner, but he was afraid to go out behind our garage where the trash cans lived. (We lived in a heavily wooded lot on Long Island with no street lights nearby. It was dark out there!) So my mom started taking Baird and me for walks at night to help him get used to the dark and realize there were no monsters lurking out back. (Rambunctious raccoons, yes; monsters, no.) For me, the little sister tag-along, it was kind of scary, but even more exciting and magical – so quiet, no one out on the streets, very few cars even.
The fondest memories
I have of these walks were formed in the winter – especially when it had snowed
the night before and was cold enough the next day to develop a nice,
hard crust on top. On a clear, moonlit nights the snow sparkled in the dark! Plus,
I was little so I could walk on top of the crust without breaking through. Not
so for my brother and mom. Yay, small is good!
Those evening adventures tantalized all of my senses, making me feel brave and serene at the same time. I still feel that way today enjoying the quiet nights, the wind blowing clouds across the moon’s face, stars flickering, shivery, calm.
New Moon, new beginnings — Introducing Moonwater November 13 2012, 0 Comments
New moon, new beginnings
I’ve always been passionate about natural cycles and understanding how they quietly influence our everyday lives as earth-bound, carbon-based, water-filled creatures. I love tuning in to changes in the moon and the tides, watching the ways they shift and shape the world. And I just can't help sharing my enthusiasm with others. Thus, Moonwater.
One way I express my delight is through designing calendars that depict the lunar phases. (No calendar is complete without them in my book.) I often include curious tidbits of all sorts about history, science, etc. Over the years I’ve taken to giving them to friends and family for the holidays. And every year, without fail, I hear the same thing “I always learn so much from your calendars! You really should market them!” So now I am.
The 2013 Moon & Meteor Monthly Calendar is the first of a series I’m developing for Moonwater. I designed this particular version as a guide to full and new moons. My hope is that it will inspire you and yours to get out and spend a little time under the night sky. Who knows? You may even catch a shooting star.