My Love Affair with the Moon and his past Monday’s Summer Solstice Strawberry Full Moon…
The Moon has been celebrated culturally, scientifically and in literature throughout history.
Legends, stories, tales, songs and poems have been written about the moon. The Full Moon is particularly mystical and magical, a night when the moon reaches her full illuminated capacity in the night sky… the sun and moon opposite one another and the Earth between them.
I remember the moment I first fell in love the the Moon, the moment my great fascination began. It was on one night from my childhood that the moon seemed to follow me. I was very young, maybe 4 years old. I don’t know where my family had been that day, but we were driving home and it was late at night. My two brothers were asleep in the back seat on each side of me and I couldn’t get comfortable. (There were no such things as seat belts or car seats back then, oh so very dangerous and hard to imagine.)
My Mom and Dad were whispering in the front seat… and finally my Mom asked if I wanted to come up front with them. I couldn’t believe this because I was never allowed in the front seat. (Again, no seat belts or anything… ) But I was happy beyond happy. I crawled over the seat and my Mom said I had to lie down and try to go to sleep. Of course, I tried to obey. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I didn’t want to get sent back to the back seat with my brothers.
My Mom folded a sweater or jacket or something – I can’t remember – and tucked it next to my Dad as a little pillow for me. My Mom held my hand and I put my feet on her lap.
THAT’S when I saw her (the moon is most often considered feminine). The moon. She was right next to my Mom’s window, or so it seemed. And she stayed there. It was like she was following us. I thought she was following us. I remember asking my Dad how the moon could follow us and he quietly (not wanting to wake up my brothers) explained about orbits or some such thing that I didn’t understand at all, but I loved my Dad’s quiet voice and how he made the moon seem so real even as she seemed so mysterious to me.
That ride in the front seat of my parents’ car is one of my most cherished memories from my childhood. It seemed just me and my Mom and Dad and the moon were the only things in the universe that night. The dark sky. The great illumination that followed us home. My Dad whispering. My Mom holding my hand. The stillness. The beauty. The peace, the love, this perfect, perfect string of moments.
I was enveloped in a magical place that I didn’t want to end. And that magic has actually never ended because the moon comes back to visit me almost every single night.
It’s that one night of my life that created my lifelong fascination and love affair with the moon.
I’m always taking photographs of the moon in each of her phases. I tell my kids and grandkids about the moon and her phases, her symbolism, her importance in navigation, farming, weather. I tell them how she affects the 4 elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air in her powerful rotation. I send them texts upon texts and photos upon photos when the moon is particularly amazing to me.
I guess I feel that she always brings me back to that perfect night with my parents and I must share her magic and mystery.
When the moon appears and rises each evening, or even when she’s a gentle sliver in the morning sky, I can’t take my eyes off of her. This brings me to this past Monday night, June 20, 2016, the night of Summer Solstice and a Strawberry Full Moon. The occurrence of a Strawberry Full Moon and Summer Solstice is a rarity that hasn’t occurred since 1948 and won’t happen again until 2062.
I was born in 1952, so this was my first Summer Solstice Strawberry Full Moon, and unless I live to my 100th birthday, this could be my last. I was all in for the the magic and it was my grandson Jake’s 12th birthday, too! Oh, Happy Night!
Perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime magical night for a moon-gazer like me who truly believes that releasing wishes during a Full Moon manifests desires and goals because gravitation pull is heightened when the moon is full, giving great fertility and uplift to your greatest wishes. Phew!
On the way home from Jake’s birthday party, I searched the sky for the moon while my husband drove. Barry knows my moon fascination and we’ve been on many ‘a moon searches, so he was all in. Great guy!
I spotted the moon hovering low on the horizon over the harbor in Providence, RI…
The photo is blurry because of our car’s highway speed, but this may well be one of my favorite moon photos… almost as low as the lights of civilization below her.
… and we followed her ~
… stopping at my daughter Jane’s house to forever capture this brilliant magnificence over the city of Fall River, MA and its nightlights of people and technology.
Soon, we arrived home and there she was in the eastern sky…
She was glorious, just as glorious as my first memory of the moon peeking through my parents’ car window so very, very long ago.
But the night of the Summer Solstice Strawberry Full Moon wouldn’t end there for me.
As with all mystery, magic and science, too, there are always little secrets yet to be revealed. My secret would appear at 3:15 am as I awoke to the most beautiful sight…
… the Summer Solstice Strawberry Full Moon peeking into my bedroom window from the south. She was visiting. She was bringing back the most wonderful memory of one of the most wonderful nights of my childhood and yes, my life. A night that shaped who I am and why I believe in legends, stories, tales, songs and poems. A night that led me to literature, I’m quite sure, and a career in teaching English and Reading and passing along everything I know to decades of kids, my own kids and now my 12 grandkids (in my never-ending texts and photos).
I stayed in bed and stared at her, admired her, enthralled with her, smiling and remembering in the quiet of our bedroom, my husband sound asleep next to me and warm with memories of a night like this so, so long ago and how magic can happen twice.
I watched my Strawberry Summer Solstice Full Moon on her journey, every inch of her, until she was gone, on her way to visit some other child or grown-up who never really, really ever grew up at all…
… and then because I wanted to capture every moment of her, I wandered out to our bedroom deck and watched her playfully hide behind the thunderous clouds moving in from the west…
And she was gone. Fleeting, yet permanent. How is this possible? Well, both science and heaven and then some magic, I guess.
I stood on the deck until I could feel that raindrops of that early, early morning and remembered a poem I love about the moon, of course, one I will most certainly be teaching or texting (LOL) to my grandkids, a poem that brings life to literature and literature to life…
Full Moon – by Walter de la Mare (20th century English poet)
One night as Dick lay fast asleep,
Into his drowsy eyes
A great still light began to creep
From out the silent skies.
It was the lovely moon’s, for when
He raised his dreamy head,
Her surge of silver filled the pane
And streamed across his bed.
So, for a while, each gazed at each-
Dick and the solemn moon-
Till, climbing slowly on her way,
She vanished, and was gone.
What I know with my intellect, but more importantly with my heart, she will always return. That’s her great gift. She always returns with her surges or slivers or fullness of silver.
Take a peek into tonight’s sky with your children and enjoy the moments of fascination.
Kids are fascinated with the moon. The full moon is especially enthralling because of its great light, great size, seeming closeness to Earth and grand ceremony, but each moon phase is special.
She does grandly hover in the night sky and gaze at us as we gaze at her. Yes?
And maybe, just maybe, she will shape young scientists, writers, philosophers, mathematicians, astronauts and lovers of this great universe of ours with mutual respect and love of both the facts and the fiction of it all.
Ah, my Love Affair with the Moon.
It is internal and eternal.