Moon Dance

Photo by Ralph Stewart

By Pat Waring - January 11, 2007

"Doesn't this feel like some kind of pagan celebration?" asked one of the long line of intrepid hikers following Susan Bellincampi out of the Felix Neck woods and onto the beach on Jan. 3. Indeed there was a sense of ritual and excitement as the enthusiastic crowd waited for the mystical moment when the first full moon of 2007 would rise. The assemblage, some 65 strong and comprising all ages, waited in anticipation. Behind them the sky turned coral pink and violet as the sun set; beside them a light breeze kicked up little ripples on Sengekontacket Pond; before them hung a low cloud bank.

"I'm not the only one obsessed by the moon," said Ms. Bellincampi, executive director at Edgartown's Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary since last summer. She went on to share lunar facts and lore, aiming to keep the impatient visitors distracted.

All eyes were fixed on the layers of clouds stretched along the eastern horizon; cameras were ready, breaths were held. Only a band of frolicking children had better things to do, running back and forth on the beach as the adults kept vigil. Finally, the full moon rose up out of its bed of clouds in majestic slow motion, at last hanging, round and bright and perfect in the half-night sky.

The walkers roamed the sanctuary trails through woods, along salt marshes, then out to the pond shore again. They tracked the moon on its upward journey, first floating in open sky, then glinting through the trees, now seemingly caught in the branches of a gnarled shrub. These walks will be held all winter, Ms. Bellincampi promises, inviting one and all to join the celebration when the next full moon rises on Friday, Feb. 2, at 5:30 pm.