Lilac Moon

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Lilac Moon, Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan

September 25, 2010

For those who live on the prairies, the image of the moon rising into a mauve mist of light in the sky defines a peaceful night on the grasslands.

Embarrassingly enough, I had never heard of the term until I read Sharon Butala’s book, Lilac Moon.  Knowledgeably, she writes about it:

“The whole landscape had turned a soft, hazy lilac, and I was stricken with amazement, or awe, and a rare, inner speechlessness.”

As though inspired by the colour of the sky, the rural communities and individual farms are often encompassed by lilac bushes.  They push out their colourful flowers in the spring and fill the air with an almost intoxicating perfume, then settle back to a commonplace green bush until the next spring.  Waiting for spring’s warmth, their closely woven branches provide a wind break against winter’s biting winds.

While out on the prairies, with the grasses around me giving of their soft scent, the air still, the silence perceptible, I’ve seen a lilac moon.  This past week I saw another lilac moon, but this time from close to the environs of the city.  While the sky had the same visual draw, the rest provided no peace at all.  The pollution of light from the city and the constant din of urban busyness left me wanting - wanting for more than visual peace.  I wonder if the senses communicate with each other to define the total picture, the total feeling of the moment.  Probably so.