The almost perfectly clear evening provided me with a rare opportunity to see the full moon of January rise. Usually, this time of year is so cloudy that the moon is obscured, but tonight, the thin gauze of cloud was an enhancement of the sight. The detail of the lunar features was hidden, but the orb itself was bright, and the refracted light in the clouds made it seem as though all the sky around it was glowing. The January moonrise is my favorite, because there is a particular spot at the end of my driveway from which I can look back over the roof of my northern neighbor's house and see the event through a stand of pines and oaks. One tall oak thrusts its two main clusters of branches upward in a narrow V, and shortly after the moon rises it will silhouette this complex calligraphy of living wood.
The warm and relatively clear weather could not have arrived at a better time this year. I stood in the pleasant air and watched as the moon rose between the trunks, and up through the tangle of smaller bare branches and twigs, creating a series of pictures reminiscent of Japanese ink drawings. All the while, bits of moonlight would be caught on one cluster or another of reflective needles on the ponderosas to either side of the oak, and the silky cloud glowed as though with its own light. I'd say it was the best January moonrise I've ever seen.