Harvest Moon/nature’s beauty…see it to enjoy it.

In a past post I talked about the moon and its phases.  And last week a Harvest Moon was out in full force resulting in social media flooding the internet with pictures of the special occasion.  Now, I appreciate learning about what made this a “super moon“.  And it made me think of a classic poem that tries to separate the scientific rationale behind nature’s beauty, and just plain-ol’ enjoying it.

Ever sit in a meeting and want someone to stop talking so you could read the handout?  Ever tell someone to stop telling you how to make something work so you could just figure it out by doing it?  Yes, sometimes talk bogs us down…

Walt Whitman wrote the poem “When I heard the learn’d astronomer”.  In it, someone is listening to an astronomer who must be quite smart (hence, “learn’d).  While there, it seems that the lecture is well-received by the audience (there is “much applause”).  Then something happens to the speaker:

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Yes.  All that talk and science-y stuff…man, just let me go and ENJOY it!  Whitman even uses some repetition (“rising and gliding”, “mystical moist”, “silence at the stars”) to catch our attention…to make sure we don’t miss this significant development taking place in the speaker.

Again, I’ve enjoyed hearing about why the moon is the way it is when it gets all big and red and whatever.  But I enjoy it most not because of that background knowledge, but when I actually get to see it, in person.

Sometimes, nature is the best classroom, and perhaps you had a moment when your best “learning” was done in the field…

By the way…if you enjoy this poem and want to share it with your child, grandchild or whoever, it was also made into a nice children’s book.


Main image: “Harvest Moon”, Phil Sangwell via Wiki Commons

Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.