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Friday, December 9, 2011

The Man in the Moon is a Lady

When I was very little I wanted to be an astronaut. I fell asleep at night imagining me in a spacesuit outside a rocket ship. The Earth from up there was green and brown and you could see clouds floating around down there, through my big helmet visor. Years later when I saw the Big Blue Marble it is, reflected in Alan Shepard's visor, it was a surprise. Part of me expected it would be green and brown. But most water was brown to me; I lived by the NYC harbor in the 60s.

Anyway, my first treasured book (I still own it) was Tom Corbett's Trip to the Moon. It was a 50s thing. Tom Corbett was a handsome astronaut. Brewster Rockit but brainy. And he was very kind to children. The space program was huge and miraculous when I was a kid. Every kid I knew was into the space thing. Some of us wanted to be astronauts. After a while I stopped saying it because every single person I said it to said, "Girls can't be astronauts!" and laughed. Every single person. When people say the world hasn't changed, I think of that.

So that's where my love affair with the moon began. If you pay attention you can see how the moon affects weather. And we all know about the tides. The moon is a magnet in the sky for us, gently shaping and moving our world. An amazing part of our system. It fascinates me.

And then I began reading moonlore when I was in junior high. Native Americans gave the full moons names which I find very cool:
  http://www.moonphases.info/full_moon_names.html

Around every 2.5 years there are 13 full moons in a year. The 13th moon is called the Blue Moon, and falls as a second full moon within a calendar month. Hence the saying, "Once in a blue moon" which refers to something rarely happening. But there are about 4 times a century when we get 2 months in a year with 2 full moons. This most often occurs in Januarys and Marchs, leaving February without a full moon at all. And I've never heard anyone name that odd 13th moon that is a second Blue Moon. I nominate it be called Tom Corbett Moon.

Here's a Blue Moon calculator:
   http://www.obliquity.com/cgi-bin/bluemoon.cgi

Over the years and cultures the moon has been perceived as either a man or a woman. Jackie Gleason's face fit in pefectly. Personally, I think the moon's female. A big round woman sitting cross-legged and laughing, in a big white dress with long white hair.

Tonight and tomorrow the Cold Moon is full. Give the Lady a smile.

10 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

I call it a silver dollar moon when it's full....I like the image of a happy, rotund lady with her hair flying in the wind, maybe stuffing her mouth with a big hunk of green cheese. Good image.

Austan said...

It is like a silver dollar. Remember when they were really silver? ;)
A big hunk of green cheese! Love it!

Geo. said...

"To the moon, Alice!" Gleason and Meadows, honeymooners, with Ralph always outnumbered by Alice's pixie face and formidible theatrical voice combined with the moon-goddess, Luna --who, as you say, is a Lady. I loved this post, Austan!

Austan said...

Thanks, Geo. "One of these days, bang! zoom!" :) I really enjoyed writing it!

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

I too wanted to be an astronaut, probably based on the old Dan Dare comic strip in the Eagle.(UK High quality children's magazine)

I still think the best rendition of the love of humans to explore space, and the Moon is Robert Heinlein's "Have Space Suit Will Travel."

If you haven't read it get hold of a copy quick. Very slightly dated now, but not by much.


BTW, confirming word was miliouse. Related to Richard's watch perchance?

Austan said...

TSB- My gods I haven't thought of that book in years. It's on my shopping list.

miliouse.. Tricky Dick's expensive home?

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

"Tricky Dick's expensive home?"

Oh, how very subtle.

Very good.

Makes me think of a water gate.

Austan said...

ooooooh. I like you, you're silly.

paulg said...

Speaking of the Tricky One - did you ever see the film, Millhouse?
I've dug it up on Tubetube - not as splashy as I remembered it.

Heinlein: there's also Podkayne of Mars and the Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

When we were kids, my younger bro & I, my father worked for Pratt & Whitney and other aerospace type firms. He got hold of a kit to make a space capsule like the one John Glenn went around the earth in. It was a cardboard skin over a wood frame, but quite realistic.

Austan said...

I saw it once. Even the thought of him still pisses me off.

How cool is that? Yet another thing they didn't give girls back then. Dolls, tea sets, nurse kits, yes. Spacecraft, no. Sheesh.