Lights up all earth with silver

This weekend brought a full moon to the desert. I was reminded of a fragment of Sappho (Bergk fr. 3):

Ἄστερες μὲν ἀμφὶ κάλαν σελάνναν
ἂψ ἀπυκρύπτοισι φάεννον εἶδος,
ὄπποτα πλήθοισα μάλιστα λάμπῃ
   γᾶν [ἐπὶ πᾶσαν]
 ... ἀργυρία ...

which has been translated by H.T. Wharton as

The stars about the fair moon in their turn hide their bright
face when she at about her full lights up all earth with silver.

I had occasion to take a moonlight walk with a group of elementary school students from the heart of the city. We escaped before the sun had set, and were able to watch the moon rise.

There is a stillness that comes when walking in the light of only the moon, watching the dance of moon-shadows across the rocks (silvery shadows, as Sappho would have it). There were owls calling and saguaros blooming – how better to celebrate the beginning of summer?

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