CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

August 18, 2008

BLUE MOONS AND NATURE’S OTHER BLUES


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS
BLUE MOONS AND NATURE’S OTHER BLUES

On May 31, 2007, the moon turned full at 9:04 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (6:04 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, according to The Truth Behind This Month’s Blue Moon, authored by Joe Rao, an instructor and guest lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium.

“…(it is) the second of two full Moons for North Americans this month. Some almanacs and calendars assert that when two full Moons occur within a calendar month, that the second full Moon is called the “Blue Moon.”… The phrase “Once in a blue Moon” was first noted in 1824 and refers to occurrences that are uncommon, though not truly rare. Yet, to have two full Moons in the same month is not as uncommon as one might think. In fact, it occurs, on average, about every 32 months. And in the year 1999, it occurred twice in a span of just three months!…For the longest time no one seemed to have a clue as to where the “Blue Moon Rule” originated….It was not until the year 1999 that the origin of the calendrical term “Blue Moon” was at long last discovered…” (To read the rest of this article click on http://www.space.com/spacewatch/070525_ns_blue_moon.html.)

It was while preparing for my daughter’s fifth birthday—which just happens to be May 17—that I first became fascinated with nature’s blues. I operated a family childcare home in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Sandy was at school, and I had a group of children in for a preschool program. Time constraints meant I had to combine the preschool program with my need to decorate her butterfly-shaped cake. I gathered the children around the table and talked to them about butterflies—an appropriate topic since it was mid-May and the Monarch butterflies were about to arrive.

When I asked the children what color the icing should be, several called out “blue!”

Being the realist I was (and still am, if I were to admit to it), I responded: “There are no blue butterflies.” Then I proceeded to the encyclopedia to look up butterflies to prove myself right and to show them what their color choice was.

Then I humbly ate crow, as the saying goes, because I discovered there ARE blue butterflies. I added the blue food coloring and proceeded in the cake-decorating project.

My next confrontation with nature’s blues came on a trip to New England in 2003. I saw a commercial van with a blue lobster painted on its side and thought “That artist sure took liberty with his colors,” and proceeded to note it in my journal as an oddity. Several nights later, in a motel room, there was a television report on a rare find: a BLUE lobster had been caught near the Isles of Shoals and taken to a lobster house in New Castle, New Hampshire.

I convinced Monte that seeing a blue lobster was a new non-negotiable part of our trip, so we took off on our “blue lobster search.” We finally located the lobster hut where the news story said the lobster had been taken. The lobster hut was at the estuary of the Piscatauqua River. Due to the late hour it was closed. On our third try to find it open we succeeded, and the owner wholeheartedly agreed to let me take pictures of the critter the news stories said occurred once in one or two million lobster catches.

Blue? My goodness, not just a dark blue-black, as I had expected. It was a most beautiful shade of robin’s egg blue. He set the lobster beside a normally colored one for a photo shoot. The creature was later sent to the nature center at Rye, New Hampshire.

On our return trip to New England, in the fall of 2006, we discovered Blue Buoy (as I dubbed him) had moved on to meet its creator that May. However, the science center had recently received another blue lobster, which was not on display because it was being acclimated to its new environment.

On my return home I clicked onto “blue creatures” for an Internet search and discovered there are not only blue birds (which I was cognizant of) but blue frogs and many other blue critters in nature. Nature’s lovely blues are spread throughout the animal and insect kingdom.

Perhaps when I see the moon tonight, even though it is not “blue,” I will be reminded of the lesson learned while decorating my daughter’s birthday cake: sometimes we must learn to explore “outside the box,” opening ourselves up to the new realities of nature and life. And thus, we might be surprised!

ADDITIONAL READING:

EVERYDAY HEROES

LIZZIE BORDEN—A REENACTMENT

MOOSE, GOOSE, DEER

MOXIE: LOVE IT or HATE IT

A PASTOR’S ROLE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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