Once in a Blue Moon

Originally published September 1, 2012

A Blue Moon

It’s not often that you learn something new every day, or at least that’s how it seems when you’re traveling through life in the fast lane.  And that’s because living in that fast lane becomes so complicated, that you don’t have time to think about anything but the priorities that you’ve programmed into the deepest depths of your being.  Luckily for me (and you, dear reader) I’m not traveling in that lane anymore; I’m no longer in that race to nothingness – I saved myself from being doomed.   No Corky, this isn’t about religion – it’s about waking up and smelling your armpits and remembering why you shower every morning.  Let me explain.

Life in the fast lane begins shortly after birth, when you begin to learn (about life).  And as you learn, you start to yearn (for things in life); and when you yearn (for things that aren’t readily available), you then start to dream (about getting those important things).  Life in the fast lane is a race to win all of the things you’ve ever dreamed about – things that will make you happy.  And as one dream comes true – there’s a brief thrill of victory (happiness), and then it’s onward, in the chase for the next dream.  

Some people remain in the fast lane for their entire life – overcoming numerous obstacles to achieve their dreams.  But at the end of the day, what they thought would make them happy, didn’t.  They accumulated stuff – lots and lots of stuff but it didn’t bring a true and lasting happiness.  And that, dear reader, is because we never ever, stop dreaming – regardless of the lane or lanes in life that we travel.  I still have dreams – and some of them I’ve had for most of my life.  Dreams are difficult to let go of – but we can’t always get what we want, right?  Or can we?

But Danny, what has this got to do with the title of your blog post?  Are you going through male menopause or….

Relax Corky!  And why are you drinking beer with a straw?  Please just sit there and try to remain sober for a bit longer….

Anyway, it was earlier this month that I first learned about a rare occurrence about to happen, here on Earth.  For those of you that believe in Science, particularly Astronomy (no Corky, not Astrology!), you’re familiar with the fact that the moon rotates around the Earth.  You would also know the several phases of the moon, including the “full moon”, which occurs every 29 days – or once a month (lunar cycle).  And I’d bet that even the greatest of scientists have often wondered about the term Blue Moon – and what it means?  Men have landed and walked on the surface of the Moon.  And immediately after taking the historic “One step for man, one giant leap for Mankind”, the astronaut picked up a piece of the Moon and determined that it did not smell or taste like blue cheese. 

If you are a fan of music (like me), you’re probably aware of the numerous songs written about the Blue Moon.  And the songs are not confined to one genre either – artists such as Elvis Presley, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Mel Torme and Cliff Richard, each recorded their own version.  My favourite Blue Moon song is the one by The Mavericks.  But all of those songs are about a person, who is sad and lonely or “blue” – like a sad and lonely Blue Moon.  But how can the Moon be sad, lonely and/or blue?

Oh, and then there’s the expression “Once in a Blue Moon”.  What’s that all about?  Well, because I no longer live in the fast lane and have ample time to ponder on such matters, I decided to solve the mystery once and for all (which, by the way, is another strange saying).  It was during my research on Once in a Blue Moon that things began to get both weird and scary.  Here’s what happened.

On August 1, 2012, at 3:00 AM in the morning, I was awakened by my dog Holly Golightly, who was desperately asking to go outside.  As I got to the patio door I was surprised at how bright it was outside – I didn’t even need to turn on the outside light.  I stumbled onto the patio and looked up to the sky – and there it was – a full Moon!  It was such a beautiful sight, I decided to sit in one of the lawn chairs and admire the scenery.  The moonlight creates a shadow that is much different than the Sun’s shadow – it’s much more mysterious and spooky.  Suddenly, the shadows from the fence, apple tree and the shed all took on a life of their own – and I felt as though I was being watched.  Chills ran up and down my body – the hair on my head turned a blue/white color.  I ran to the patio door and then raced inside to my bedroom and quickly hid under the covers – shaking with the fear.  But where was my little Holly?  I peaked out from the under the covers and noticed that she wasn’t anywhere in the room.  Did I leave her outside? 

I quickly slipped out of the bed and quietly crawled through the hallway to the sun room.  As I got to the patio door, a face suddenly appeared on the other side of the door!  It was Holly!  We both started to bark – a tactic that was sure to scare away any ghouls or goblins hiding in the shadows.  But as I opened the patio door, Holly suddenly spotted a cat and started running across the yard.  I started to chase her and then heard a familiar voice.

“Hi Danny!  Are you and Holly out looking for dew worms too?”   It was Bob, my next door neighbour, an avid fisherman.

“Uh, no, I uh, was just taking Holly out for a walk in the neighbourhood” I replied. 

It was at that exact moment that the light taped to the top of Bob’s safety helmet shone on my near-naked body.  I don’t know which of us appeared to be the weirdest: he looking like a coal miner or me, looking like an aged Chippendale stripper in boxer shorts!

“By the way, isn’t that the nicest looking Moon?” he asked.  Bob had only been living in the neighbourhood for a couple of years and had already seen me running around the yard in my boxer shorts about a dozen times.

I nodded in agreement and then knelt down to pick up Holly and suddenly noticed that my boxer shorts were on backwards.  I had been in such a rush to let Holly out……. And as I walked back towards the patio door, I could feel the light from Bob’s safety helmet shining on my back. 

When I got back to my bedroom, Holly was already curled up on the bed.  Within minutes she was snoring.  I couldn’t sleep – I was too rattled.  I turned on my computer and started to do a search for the term “Once in a Blue Moon”.  It didn’t take long to find the answer.  It refers to a rare occurrence when there are two full Moons in one month.  And as I did more research, I learned that August 2012 was one of those rare occurrences where there would be two full moons – the first on August 1st and the second one on August 31st.

“Wow!” I thought, “This is really something special. The next Blue Moon won’t occur again until July 2015.  I thought about all of the Blue Moon occurrences I had already missed in my life – I wasn’t going to miss another!”  So I decided that I would make preparations for a Once in a Blue Moon celebration for August 31st

I awoke early on August 31st and turned on the morning news.  There was no mention of the Blue Moon but that was okay.  I was probably the only person in Langley, Horse Capital of BC, that was even aware of this rare and exciting event; and now all I needed to get was the weather forecast.  I knew that the night sky would need to be clear of clouds to make the Blue Moon visible.  Too bad that I couldn’t share this exciting news with others but it would probably spread fear and panic in some, while others would just scoff at the idea – like they scoff at global warming.  Mark, the Global TV Weatherman, finally gave the forecast – clear skies for the next few days!   “Hurray!” I screamed to myself.

I cut and trimmed the lawn and then swept the patio.  I put candles on the patio table and brought out a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which I had been saving for a special occasion.  As dusk approached, I was filled with an excitement – an excitement similar to that of a first date.  But there would just be Holly, the Blue Moon and me.

I sat in the Adirondack chair and watched as the sky became darker.  On the western horizon, shortly before sunset, you can see the planet Mercury just above the setting Sun.  And then the sky got darker – with a kazillion stars shining like diamonds in the sky.  The Moon wouldn’t be rising for a few hours, so I just sat back and waited.

I had my head phones on and was listening to an old Eagles tune, which brought back memories of the last time I had witnessed something amazing in the night sky.  It was August 2003, during a trip to Ontario that I got caught in the Great Power Blackout of Eastern North America.  I had traveled to Haliburton to visit the grave site of my beloved Grandma Puffer and was staying at a motel when I learned about the massive power outage.  The blackout last for a few days – affecting more than 10 million people in Ontario and 45 million people in 8 states in the Land of the Free.  But it was also during the blackout that another rare occurrence was happening in the night skies.  It was when the planet Saturn would be closest to Earth – a much rarer occurrence than a Blue Moon.  On that particular night I was laying on the end of the dock, with my legs and feet in the water – staring at the bright planet in the sky.  I remember closing my eyes and making a wish.

And last night, when I finally noticed the Blue Moon rising in the horizon, I wondered what I should do to mark the occasion?  Holly was lying beside my feet, probably wondering why we were outside.  Bob my neighbour was probably in his backyard looking for dew worms.  And me – I was staring at this beautiful object in the sky.

I closed my eyes and made a wish.  I wonder if it will come true?

Hugs,

Danny