Friday, April 6, 2012

Full Moon Rising

I'll admit it. I am a lunatic. Although I mean it in the late Latin, lunaticus form of the word. For as far back as I can remember I have been profoundly affected by the waxing of the full moon, each and every month. No, I don't grow grotesque quantities of hair and suffer from an overpowering urge to slaughter lambs but I am affected nonetheless. I can usually tell you that it's the night before a full moon without looking at a calendar simply by the otherwise unexplainable surge of adrenaline in my body and sudden uplifting of my spirit.

I used to wonder, when I first worked out the cause of this phenomenon within me, whether that was the reason I was so fascinated by the Apollo program when I was a young boy. Perhaps it was the other way around, too, but I find it difficult to imagine that such an effect on my psyche would be "man-made" and not sublimely natural. In any event, I hung on every bit of information I could get about every single moon launch NASA ever made and all I wanted to do as a young man was become an astronaut. I now think this was not because I wanted to go into space (although that was certainly part of it); rather, it was more likely that I craved an opportunity to walk on the moon. (This would likely also explain why I never really paid that much attention to the Shuttle Program.)

We have an eastern exposure in our apartment, 20 storeys up. If the full moon rises after dark - or even at twilight - it often startles us upon its first appearance, hanging just above the horizon. As it continues to rise, it passes through an arc which carries it out over Lake Ontario and at its peak it lights up what seems to be miles upon miles of water. It's positively breathtaking. Last night was, unfortunately, not one of those nights as the moon rose well before dark and passed much more quickly out of view than during later months of the year. It was still a welcome and invigorating presence for me, though, as it always is.

There have, naturally, been innumerable songs and poems written "to" the moon. This is my favourite.

A few years ago Sarah and I held a "Blue Moon Party" for which I created several CDs' worth of lunar songs (one entire CD contained nothing but covers of "Blue Moon" - I think about 22 in all) and they were a big hit that night. For anyone who does not know what a "Blue Moon" is, there are actually two definitions: Seasonal and Calendar. A Seasonal Blue Moon is the third full moon in any season which contains four of them. (I had never heard of this definition until I did some research on it for this blog post!) The Calendar Blue Moon - the definition I use - is the second full moon in any month and the next occurrence is August 31 of this year. Yes, we'll likely have a small party. There will be blue food, blue decorations, blue's really quite a hoot.

For no particular reason, here are my top 5 favourite songs with "moon" in the title that are not composed by Debussy:

5. Blue Moon - The Marcels
4. Pink Moon - Nick Drake
3. Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival
2. Harvest Moon - Neil Young (although Cassandra Wilson does an amazing cover)
1. Moondance - Van Morrison

On a tangentially related note, here's wishing everyone a Happy Easter weekend and Chag Pesach Sameach to those of you celebrating Passover tonight.

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