As I drove away from school and Pathophysiology class tonight, I noticed a glow in the distance towards the mountains. I caught another glimpse as I headed up Cerrillos and saw it was the moon, gigantic and yellow, rising over the Sangre de Cristos. Like an embedded reflex, my thoughts went to "camera!" but I knew it'd soon be over and went back to enjoying it while it lasted. I discovered the moon sinking back below the mountains as I neared my neighborhood and got excited. What a chance, to be able to watch the moonrise twice. But by the time I pulled up in front of my house, the camera! reflex had long since passed.
I had enough time to go inside, set down my bag and books, warm up a little, then grab my sweetie and we stepped back out onto the street together. The moon was directly east, exactly in line with the middle of the little road we live on, and just starting to show up over the ridge of the mountains in our view. And it was in fact one of those things I used to run frantically to my camera for, but in recent times have more often than not remembered to just take in and enjoy. I don't take as many snapshots these days, and it's not due to less love of pictures or making them – I'm glad when other people are there to capture something like this in a photograph. It's just that I no longer feel as much motivation to record it as I do to live it. Maybe due to making my pictures with a different intention these days. As much as I still enjoy snapping shots of little things to share with friends and family, after many years of making images I've learned it's just as rewarding (if not moreso) to let that go in order to witness something special with all my own senses. No distractions.
Even after it got too cold, I lingered there alone for a little while, standing in the middle of the empty street and staring up at the moon. It rose quickly above the ridgeline, sporting a halo as it glowed behind a thin curtain of high clouds. I closed my eyes, took in the cold, caught the scent of a neighbor's winter fire. I opened my eyes, watched a car whir past on an adjacent street then gazed back up at the moon. It was one of those replenishing perfect moments that tell you everything's going to be alright. As someone who practices photography it's good to be reminded you don't need to take a picture to commemorate that. I think, sometimes, it can even teach you more about being a photographer than making the photograph.