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On Strawberries, Moon, and Stars: this week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

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The Moon comes to perigee, or closest to the Earth, in every cycle, but only once each year will it come to Full Phase while it's at perigee. The several Moon's leading up to the closest Full Moon are commonly referred to as "super Moons," like this month's Strawberry Moon June 14.

Astronomers say the Moon is at perigee when it sweeps closer to the Earth than at other times, which it does regularly because of its elliptical orbit. In the world of the Storyteller’s Night Sky, a perigee Moon is imagined as a Moon that is cozying up for a better look, which is what happens this week on Tuesday morning, when it arrives at Super Moon Full phase, as if to say these words of poet Rhiannon McGavin to all of us here:

I am enough of you to warrant this flavor of intimacy.

This month’s Full Moon is also this year’s Strawberry Moon, arriving as it does at the same time as the strawberry harvest. If you look for the Moon on Monday, you’ll see it rising in the southeast before sunset, then Tuesday and Wednesday this week, it comes up after sunset. The Moon will be too bright for us to see the stars where it’s tripping along, but it just so happens that it’s moving through the thickest cluster of stars in our sky, where the central region of the Milky Way Galaxy spirals between Scorpio and Sagittarius.

There is such a charming contemplation in this, of sweet fruits clustered and ripening in the fields of the Earth below as the Moon comes full among the thickest region of stars in the sky above. Who planned all this?

McGavin goes on in her love poem to say:

…To make my cake from scratch

You wouldn’t just plant strawberries,

You’d create another universe. I wanted you

Warm and close as fresh laundry and here

We are. Tuesday.

Of course you love me, you’re wearing

One of my socks.

This week’s perigee Strawberry Moon seeks this level of joyful intimacy. How do we answer the invitation?

Find the full text of Rhianon McGavin's poem Watching You Talk on the Phone. I consider the Empty Space Around Atoms at this link.

Mary Stewart Adams is a Star Lore Historian and host of “The Storyteller’s Night Sky.” As a global advocate for starry skies, Mary led the team that established the 9th International Dark Sky Park in the world in 2011, which later led to her home state of Michigan protecting 35,000 acres of state land for its natural darkness.