Tonight (well, technically today) is the July full Moon.
I’ve always loved watching the moon. From the window of my room as a young child, I had a perfect view of where it arced across the sky. I’d watch it start as a tiny crescent, growing until the full moon, when my bed would be lit in brilliant blue moonlight. On the darkest nights of a new moon, I’d wait patiently, knowing that the light would return again.
As I grew, I learned about how the moon cycles corresponded with many things here on Earth. I experienced firsthand the moon’s influence on the tides one summer that I spent at the beach. I noted the almost perfect correlation between the moon cycles and women’s cycles, and I read with curiosity how planting crops by the moon’s phases produced certain effects. Time itself was once counted by the moon.
Whether or not the moon has any direct influence on behavior, there remains one thing that leaves no doubt in my mind: that the moon is beautiful and the full moon is breathtaking. I think it’s human nature to look for the light – and in the dark night sky, the moon draws our attention shines on. There’s also something amazing to me, thinking through history – how for years, centuries, millennia – we humans have looked to and depended on the moon.
Our forefathers and foremothers had names for the different moons of the seasons as they made their way through the cycle of the year, with Buck Moon, when male deer being sprouting their antlers; and Thunder Moon, relating to the many storms of mid-summer; being two common ones for the July full moon (though a quick google search brings up many names from many cultures.)
Since society has moved into modernity and we’ve had electricity to enable “day” to last all night long, we’ve become somewhat removed from how important the light of the moon was to illuminate the night sky. As a night owl, I am very grateful to have electricity, but there’s still a part of me that is enchanted by the moon. I live in a well-lit city, so my night sky is usually always well lit, but once a month, there’s a light that outshines it all.
In honor of the centuries old tradition of moon-watching, and to bring us closer to the natural world that we sometimes stray so far from, the boys and I have been out the past couple of evenings – and will be out tonight as well – to appreciate the ancient appreciation for the full moonrise. We’ll be enjoying our hot, sticky July with homemade popsicles and bare feet in the grass. They’ll catch lightning bugs while I take advantage of the evening’s extended light to enjoy some outdoor crochet while enjoying the summer breezes and chirping crickets.
It’s the quiet, everyday moments like these that create the memories I so dearly want my children to grow with and look back upon – that they might acknowledge the same gratitude and recognition of the lunar beauty that children through history have. And that we all might not get too far removed from the natural cycles of the earth.