Saturday, February 13, 2010


The moon has been of great interest to people since the beginning of time. Large, bright, and near enough to the earth to be easily seen and studied in many of its phases, yet not so brilliant as to discourage or prevent people from watching it, as is the case with the sun.

As soon as primitive people discovered that the full moon came around regularly, they could use it to measure and record time. Native Americans often referred to something as having taken place a certain number of “moons” ago. People in some parts of the world still measure their year by the moon’s cycles. The moon determines the date of Easter Sunday.

Some early people worshipped the moon as a god or a goddess. For others, it played a big part in their superstitions. Still today, some people wouldn’t even consider looking at the moon over their left shoulder. Many continue to plant their field crops and gardens “by the moon.” They study the almanac to determine the best days for planting. They insist that some crops do better when planted in the “dark of the moon,” and others in the “light.”

A lot of folks feel certain that the moon has a decided effect on certain people’s thinking. The word “lunacy” comes from the word “luna,” meaning moon. Anyone acting irrationally at the time of a full moon is often considered to just be acting “kind of loony”. I’ve never studied any statistics, but a number of police officers tell me that crime rates, especially crimes of violence, increase dramatically when the moon is full. And the old stories tell us that is the time for werewolves to grow hair and fangs, and for Count Dracula and his vampire buddies to become active.

The moon is the major force that creates the tides in the oceans. Many who have studied the distant ball of rock have seen a “man in the moon”. And down through the years, a few optimists never doubted for a minute that the day would arrive when man would walk on the moon. Its silver light has inspired writers, artists, songwriters, and musicians. An early autumn full moon gives farmers an extra measure of twilight time to harvest their crops, and is called a “harvest moon.” The next full moon is considered a “hunter’s moon.” It is possible for the full moon phase to occur twice within one month. The second such stage is commonly referred to as a “blue moon.” Such double appearances of the full moon within a single month are infrequent, so in describing something that happens only on rare occasions, we use the expression “once in a blue moon.”

And then there are many occasions when the full moon is considered by romantics to be a “lovers’ moon.”


The old couple rocked
In their chairs on the front porch,
Looked up at, and studied,
Autumn’s rising full moon.

Smiling, they held hands,
As they counted their blessings,
Later heard the horned owl
And sad cry of the loon.

The old lady smiled,
Whispered, “We’ve been so lucky.
Many of the Good Lord’s
Blessings have come our way.

“We’ve worked and we’ve prayed,
While we raised a good family.
Sometimes those early years
Seem like just yesterday.

“It’s hard to believe
The time passed by so swiftly.
Our children, once babies,
Have all so quickly grown,

“Matured and scattered
Like dry leaves in the autumn
All seeking new goals, and
Doing well on their own.

“That same moon was up
There back when we were courting.
It seems almost to be
A good and trusted friend.

“It’s lighted our way
Through dark nights of our journey,
As it most likely will
All the way to life’s end.”

He whispered, “Yes, dear,
Our life’s been great together.
We have been a good team
All this time we’ve been wed.

“But we’re both aware
That one-day soon we’ll rejoin
Those old friends and neighbors
Who have gone on ahead.

“Side-by-side we walk,
Traveling down life’s long highway,
As we both wend our way
Up toward heaven’s throne.

When we arrive there,
Once more we’ll see the faces
Of our kinfolk and friends.
There we’ll not be alone.”