pastel painting of moonlight on bare trees and snowy trail

This Shining Night, a Moonlit Snowy Night

pastel painting of moonlight on bare trees and snowy trail

This Shining Night, pastel, 9″ x 15″, 2023 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Sunset comes early and dusk and nightfall quickly follow near the winter solstice. Christmas is among the shortest days of the year, and on this particular year I headed west on the trail, hoping to capture a beautiful sunset as heavy clouds gathered, then parted, and snow squalls and flurries filled the air. The timing did not work for my goal, but the blue and violet light was magic, seeming to suspend nightfall, delaying total darkness.

As I turned around toward the trailhead and home I looked up to see the reason why: a nearly full moon had risen in the east, brushing the snow draped on branches and twigs and land with delicately tinted light. The air was full of tiny sparkling crystals, the moon softened by a light haze of clouds and the sparkling flurry of snow between me and her.

The quiet was comforting and I felt a connection rather than isolation looking at that moon through the glistening air, connection with all others who would be looking at this same moon at that moment, and others who had seen it already, and those who would see it in coming hours, all over the world.

As I looked out and up and opened my awareness to take in this simple moment, feeling the quiet and the snow flurries brushing my face, words, the title of a poem, came to me, “Sure on this shining night…,” the title of an art song composed by Samuel Barber based on a poem, Description of Elysium, by James Agee. Though the poem speaks of starlight and high summer, the idea of connection, of peace, of healed hearts and kindness, were there:

Sure on this shining night
Of star made shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.
The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.
Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night I weep for wonder wand’ring far
Of shadows on the stars.

I photographed the moment to keep it more permanently in my memory, and to revisit the image whenever I wanted.

Read about the works

Description of Elysium, James Agee.

Sure on This Shining Night, Samuel Barber.

See more paintings from Sun Shadow Ice & Snow, Seasons on the Panhandle Trail.

Other items with the same art or design To find all items on this site with the same art or design, use the search box for the name of the artwork and you'll find all that's available.

Flourish-darkgray-100Don’t miss any new items or opportunities!

“Follow” the Portraits of Animals blog with the link in the upper left. Sign up to receive posts in email, or in your favorite reader using the links in the right-hand column.

Sign up for e-newsletters

You can also sign up for my monthly e-newsletters to receive special discounts and find out where I’ll be with my artwork.

Click here for the Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter, for feline and animal-specific products and information.

Click here for the Art & Merchandise E-newsletter, for landscapes, nature, urban scenes and more.

For art, photos and writing as I develop it, visit my blogs.

See feline art and photos as they happen on The Creative Cat, along with feline news, health, welfare, rescue stories and more.

See daily photos as I post them on Today.

Read poetry, short stories, essays and more on Paths I Have Walked.

. . . . . . .

© 2022 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Leave a Reply