Monday, November 14, 2016

The moon is full

Question: What does the supermoon have in common with me?
Answer:  The current supermoon is the closest to the earth than it has been in 69 years. I am 69.

Back then I was only about six months old. Hardly old enough to care, right? However, I think it is important to point out that these two incredible events happened that year.

I could cover all of the ins and outs of the supermoon, but I will leave that to the astronomers. My Uncle Phil Barnhart was married to my Aunt Esther Loxley Barnhart. At a very early age, I was introduced to the stars through the huge telescope at my uncle's university. Uncle Phil was full of technical talk, but he opened up the skies to me.

My dad set great store in the power of the moon. The Old Farmer's Almanac:
  • Moonrise occurring in the evening brings fair weather, says one proverb, harking back to the belief that the waning Moon (full and last quarter, which rise in the evening) is dry.
  • The New Moon and first quarter, or waxing phases, are considered fertile and wet.
  • The new and first-quarter phases, known as the light of the Moon, are considered good for planting above-ground crops, putting down sod, grafting trees, and transplanting.
  • From full Moon through the last quarter, or the dark of the Moon, is the best time for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops.
  • The time just before the full Moon is considered particularly wet, and is best for planting during drought conditions.
  • I added this one. The moon had an effect on Dad's three daughters. We didn't turn into werewolves, but he thought we were a bit more tempermental. 
  • Rail fences cut during the dry, waning Moon will stay straighter.
  • Wooden shingles and shakes will lie flatter if cut during the dark of the Moon.
  • Fence posts should be set in the dark of the Moon to resist rotting. Ozark lore says that fence posts should always be set as the tree grew. To set the root end upward makes a short-lived fence.
  • Don't begin weaning when the Moon is waning.
  • Castrate and dehorn animals when the Moon is waning for less bleeding.
  • Slaughter when the Moon is waxing for juicier meat.
  • Crabbing, shrimping, and clamming are best when the Moon is full.
  • Best days for fishing are between the new and full Moon.
  • Dig your horseradish in the full Moon for the best flavor.
  • Set eggs to hatch on the Moon's increase, but not if a south wind blows.
Amazing what you can learn from the Almanac.

My sister June and I had a conversation about the effect of the moon on the tides. She is in Key West for the winter. Streets ten blocks along the ocean have been blocked off due to moon's affect on the tides. One can't help but think that perhaps this will be the way of life as the glaciers continue to melt. ten blocks in might will eventually be beachfront.

In January 1948, the moon was actually twenty-nine miles closer to earth. This was also the same year the Cleveland Indians last won the World Series. In 2034, the moon will come even closer, within 221,485 miles. Another supermoon.

As a child I learned to look up in awe and wonder. I learned to ask questions and to seek my own answers. Teaching my grandchildren what I have learned about our earth and universe is giving them tools they will need for the future. A vision of possibilities, of a universe bigger than imagination, of all the things they can become. Supermoon.....inspiration.

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