Saturday, May 17, 2008

some forgotten dance

Can you see it there? Peeking over the edge of my outdoor shower? The phantom moon. I'll be in the garden in the late afternoon sometimes, and look over my shoulder to the east, and there it will be ... the faded, leaning towards full, almost jolly phantom moon. I find that in these summer months the moon is a welcome companion in the afternoon garden.

The old almanacs are rich in advice about how to use the moon to plant. The first quarter welcomes the planting of cukes, corn and cress to name a few. The second quarter peas, peppers and pumpkins. The third quarter parsnips, potatoes and rutabaga. Here in the fourth quarter I should be turning sod, pulling weeds and destroying noxious growth.

Back in my other life, when I taught high school history, I liked to use a little extra time we had at the end of class for a "pop quiz." "OK we have 2 minutes before the bell, take out a piece of scrap paper and answer this question. You have 45 seconds. If you went outside tonight at 10 pm and looked for the moon, what direction would you look ... east, west or overhead ... AND what shape would it be?" "Fold them up and hand them to me as you leave the room." I was always disappointed at how totally unaware they were about the moon and its phases. Truth is I would have gotten the same results in the faculty lounge.

Being close to the earth in some strange way brings us close to the heavens as well. The detached suburban lives most of us lead, leave us not only ungrounded but also dis - astered ... detached from stars.

In the sky the phantom moon appears at midday
To join the sun in some forgotten dance
In their light our voices tremble with reflections
Of what we know and what we leave to chance

We have dreams we hold them to the light like diamonds
Stones of the moon and splinters of the sun
Some we keep to light the dark nights on our journey
And shine beyond the days that we have won

~Judy Collins

1 comment:

Jane Marie said...

I need to start reading a Farmer's Almanac. Maybe I'd have better success with the few vegetables I grow.
Love that phantom moon!