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You are here: Home Palmetto Blog Blog By the Light of the Moon

By the Light of the Moon

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That big, fat moon is gonna shine like a spoon. But we’re gonna let it. You won’t regret it” – Bob Dylan lyrics

full moonIt had been like any other hot, humid mid-summer day in the Deep South part of North Florida. The heat rose that afternoon along with our anticipation of being witness to history in the making that we would recount some future day to our own grandchildren. At least that is what our Mother had assured, and declared that we would all stay up late to watch for ourselves on the little black and white TV – even the youngest ones. Mother was like that. It was our wonder years and she had already passed to each of us her kindred spirit for adventure. Earlier that afternoon we had witnessed the historic landing, and now as the hours ticked by, we eagerly waited the promised pinnacle to watch proudly as the American flag was firmly planted on the frontier lunar ground.

The monochrome light from the TV flickered in the darkness and mingled with the hum of the aquarium bubbler and the steady drone from the air conditioner that sat in the window, its back against the night. Packed like sardines on the sofa or laid out with pillows on the smooth wooden floor, together as a family we watched, spellbound by the grainy images that jerked from over 200 thousand miles away. We watched in breathless anticipation as Neil Armstrong first emerged from the lunar module, then cautiously descended the ladder, and finally momentously stepped onto the moon. The crackly audio beamed back down into our small living room right there on Lake Avenue, the famous words now etched eternally in our minds. It felt beyond imagination and surreal, a bit like the science fiction show my older brother and I often watched together on Saturday afternoons. And for all the memories to be made in 1969, this would be the one we could personally romanticize for a lifetime.

Cynthia PaulsonContrary to the artistic license taken since that historic July evening which depicts the moon as fully round, it was actually a crescent moon that welcomed the astronauts as they landed in the Sea of Tranquility on the surface of the moon. But whether it is waxing or waning, the beautiful moon has enchanted and held me in fascination for as early as I can remember. Perhaps it is because my mother graced me with not one, bur two mythological names that symbolize the moon. I feel strongly connected to the moon, the ebb and flow of my very being somehow linked to its lunar force. I especially love a big, fat, silvery moon. My favorite children’s book is Goodnight Moon. I get goose bumps every time I watch George Bailey offer to lasso the moon for Mary in the movie It’s A Wonderful Life. “ Well, then you can swallow it, and it'll all dissolve, see... and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair.”

It was my mother who explained to me the lunar phases that forever altered my perception of how I see the moon as always whole. That a totally dark moon is a new moon that glows larger each passing night until it reaches full luminous glory once every 29 days. That the moon commands my respect as a gravitational power that moves the tides, drives the life cycle of species and influences crops. That ancient cultures worshipped the moon, and today we still celebrate lunar eclipses and full moons that occur at the solstice and the equinox. That each full moon has a folklore name given by Native Americans to represent seasonal nature – Wolf Moon (January), Snow Moon (February), Flower Moon (May), Sturgeon Moon (August) to name a few. All this and more I came to learn because of my mother. She challenged me to imagine the real things that I couldn’t see and to appreciate the ones that I could.

blue moon risingBut the most exceptional of all the monthly moons must be the Blue Moon. Because the second full moon to occur in any calendar month only happens once in a blue moon, every 2 ½ years, it is a relative rarity. The precise origin of its name is uncertain for although the name conjures up the image of a big glowing sphere of brilliant sapphire radiating light across the evening sky, a Blue Moon is not blue at all. This year fortune will fall on August 31, the Saturday of the Labor Day weekend, when the next Blue Moon is set to rise at precisely 8:23 p.m. Where will you be to see this special moon?

St. Marks Charter Sunset CruiseThere is certainly something quite magical about being over water during a full moon. The way the luminescent moon peaks her head above the horizon and scatters light as she begins her climb into the night. As much as I adore the moon, my friend and fellow Certified Green Guide, Capt. James Hodges also appreciates a bright shining moon. The way it reflects off the water to create thousands of dancing diamonds that twinkle like stars below the dusky sky. He creates the perfect cruise out into Apalachee Bay for a synchronized sunset/moonrise that is truly a priceless experience. Once he anchors the boat, your pure pleasure begins. The water laps calmly against the boat and the gentle waves roll across the sandbar to lull you into total relaxation. You watch entranced as the last rays of sun melt into the watery horizon along with all your cares. Soon the lighthouse beacon flickers to mark the final transition from dusk to dark that in turn signals the stars to kindle and the moon to rise. This is the kind of trip where memories are made. The Blue Moon Sunset Cruise this year promises to be particularly memorable.

Judith Anne MeisnerSo on August 31, 2012 when I celebrate this special lunar event and raise my glass of wheat ale in salute to the Blue Moon, I will also remember and honor my mother. For she is the one who nurtured my sense of heavenly wonder and encouraged me to always reach for the moon. May she dance dreamily this night with the splendid Man in the Moon.

In special tribute to my mother, Judith Anne Meisner, March 20, 1931– August 12, 1998, may she forever play amongst the stars and rest eternally in celestial peace.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 November 2012 18:51 )