River of HeavenPhotographed September 15th, 2015, 8:56 pm.

Cruising around making images on Raven with a friend, we learned that all of the schooners in the Maine Windjammer fleet would be gathering that evening off the Wooden Boat school over in Naskeag harbor, at the eastern end of Eggemoggin Reach.

We photographed them as they all sailed around that end of the Reach, and then as the day drew close to a close, they all dropped anchor off the school wharf. When it was clear that a few of them would have their sails up all night I had the first gleam of the possibility of this photograph. In my mind’s eye I pre-visualized what – just possibly – it might all look like.

We had a great dinner aboard Raven and then I rowed ashore just as darkness finally descended upon all of us.

My intoxication over what I beheld before me was compounded as I realized that the Milky Way was directly over the assembled fleet. Icing on an exquisite cake, if you will.

Wonderful laughter and singing from the boats rang throughout the anchorage, punctuated by the lilting cries of loons at both ends of the harbor. It was, in all, a scene of surreal beauty.

I knew I had found the perfect title when I learned that a shared Chinese and Japanese term for the Milky Way is “river of heaven.”

All of these elements swam into alignment without me really doing a thing, syzygy at its best. Honestly, I feel – once again – blessed to simply bear witness.

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