By Land Wilson, Author of Sofia’s Dream
I am a calendar nut. Being obsessed with organization, a calendar is almost always within reach. I have a one-page weekly calendar I carry in my pocket. I have a monthly calendar on my desk. I also have a monthly family calendar centrally located in our home. I have a children’s yearly school calendar on our refrigerator. And one of my favorite calendars is a little 6”x 5” moon calendar, which is also on our refrigerator.
The moon in its many appearances captivates me. The full moon in particular never ceases to exhilarate me. I admit that on occasion, some primal feeling compels me to howl at it. And of all the full moons in a year, the harvest moon stands out as my favorite.
In the Northern Hemisphere, when the Earth’s axis starts tilting away from the sun, we transition from summer to autumn. On one day near the end of September, the autumnal equinox occurs. This is when daylight hours and nighttime hours are nearly equal. This day marks the beginning of autumn. The harvest moon is the full moon nearest to the autumnal equinox. It appears very orange for two reasons. During autumn, the moon’s path across the sky is low on the horizon, and we see the moon through greater distances of atmosphere than when it is higher above us. The more atmosphere that the moon’s light travels through to reach our eyes, the fewer colors of light we see. Orange, yellow, and red colors typically reach our eyes. These colors are further enhanced by particles of dust and smoke created by farmers that disturb soil and burn crop waste at this time of year.
The harvest moon reminds me of and gives me closure to what was usually a summer packed full of fun and activities. It makes me think of all the colorful and fragrant crops being harvested like grapes, apples, pears, cabbage, squash, and much more. I think of delicious snacks and scrumptious meals. It portends upcoming holiday fun that will happen between Halloween to New Years. All these thoughts about summer, autumn, food, and approaching holidays with family and friends brings to mind how grateful I am for all the abundance in my life.
Everything that is dear to me exists because of a world that has evolved miraculously to become the home to all that I know. Respect and appreciation for what our natural world has to offer was instilled in me by my parents and the environmentally-conscious community in which I was raised.
My motivation for writing an environmental story for children stemmed from a lifelong love of nature. About the time I became a father for the first time, I decided to write a story to encourage children to love and respect nature in a deep and meaningful way. I wanted to let children know that they can be environmental stewards. I had read that viewing the Earth from the various distances to and from the moon was an experience that genuinely transforms a person’s thinking about our planet, so as part of my research I interviewed three Apollo astronauts. These impactful interviews ultimately served as my inspiration to write what has become Sofia’s Dream, which will be published by Little Pickle Press this fall. In this magically illustrated bedtime story, little Sofia befriends the moon and takes a dreamy trip to visit her friend. She sees our planet from the moon’s point of view and is inspired to do whatever she can to protect the Earth and encourage others to do the same. Please stay tuned for details on how to obtain your copy of this special children’s picture book.