Friday, 1 January 2010

Blue Moon

A new year and a fresh reminder that each moment is a new one in which we have choices and in which we can change: ourselves, our situations, our nail polish.

This new years eve was made special by a blue moon. An appearance not as rare as one might think based on the saying "once in a blue moon." I've decided that "once in a blue moon" means in a little while.

The moon has been particularly beautiful and bright lately. The night before last it was cloudy but that big bright orb shone right on through. I love moon rises. I love the moon when she hangs around during the day.

On my flight to California, the moon hung just over and slightly behind the wing of the plane the whole way. She was right over my shoulder the whole flight, the moon and Orion's belt. I seem to have stumbled into readings lately about the trouble of anthropomorphizing animals. Well, what about celestial bodies? The moon and I have a funny relationship. I believe it's a she (or even gender neutral but definitely not male and 'it' sounds so cold) looks after me. Not in any real delusional sort of way, but in a comforting, may as well tell a story about her kind of a way.

I love the night sky. I used to lie in my bed at night growing up and look at the stars out the window, watch the moon progress from one end of the window to the next. Orion is my comfort constellation. I can usually find it in the night sky. Before I went to Australia a friend told me it's one of the constellations you can see from both hemispheres. I was a little apprehensive about my response to being under a foreign night sky. I have a lot of silly irrational fears about things like that. Typically, I have the thought, realize I've had the thought, laugh at it, correct it and go on, but no matter how much correcting goes on, the silly thoughts are not forgotten. They're sort of collected in this basket of things that made me think about the world in a non-traditional way.

Yeah, the moon and I go way back. I don't completely understand her. I'm a big fan of her work.

I remember my next door neighbor teaching me how to tell if she was on her way to being full or decreasing. I was in elementary school, knocking on doors trying to sell girl scout cookies or carnival raffle tickets to the poor retired people who thought they'd gotten rid of all the kids on the block. He took a few extra minutes to talk about the moon and draw on a piece of paper. Draw a line from the flatter side of the moon, he said. If after you put that line up there it looks like a lowercase b, it's beginning to get full. If it looks like a lowercase d, it's getting smaller.

Some old guy in Australia. Okay he wasn't that old. He was Scottish but his parents or grandparents were sent over to Australia. He was a tour guide. His name might have been Scott. He introduced me to Lindt chocolate with toffee, bless him. He talked to me about how the moon "works". He explained why there are phases of the moon. I can only pretend to remember what he said about it. At the time, I had a little trouble wrapping my head around it, but I think I got there even if only for a moment and I've since forgot. I think it had something to do with shadows. Sometimes I think that the explanations for why things are or how they do the things they do is fascinating, but really not essential to my enjoying the experience or the observing of what they do. It's as if someone were to tell me the chemical make up of sugar. I never took chemistry so while I have an idea of what those little letters represent, I don't have a deep understanding or what any of them mean if you add or subtract them. Certainly knowing its chemical make up doesn't make me appreciate sugar any more or in any new way.

I have memories of moon rises. Once when my family was driving for some vacation of sorts through the desert, this gigantic yellow-orange moon rising low over the flat horizon. The beautiful little sliver of a crescent moon in the western sky just after sunset, bright star sparkling below it's right hip.

Last night's moon, huge and through the clouds over the Hollywood Hills. A slight yellow tint to it at first as it rose through the LA smog. And by the time we reached our destination, there she was, free from the smog, from the gravity of the ground, rising up and over, lighting the atmosphere.

I always hoped a blue moon would refer to its color. Even after doing a google search I've not found a convincing reason for why it's called 'blue'. Still, this entry was interesting: Or this one by NASA There seems to be debate over calender or tropical years when talking about blue moons and thus about real blue moons or a misinterpretation and thus a only fake but more frequent blue moons.

Oh, Science, I simply don't care whether the moon is full twice in one calendar page. It don't enjoy it any differently. I doubt the moon minds our self-imposed time frames. She's working on her own schedule.

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