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Moon musings

Published July 24. 2018 12:07PM

Hey diddle, diddle the cat and the fiddle. The cow jumped over the moon.

This nursery rhyme has been around for a long time.

Growing up on a dairy farm I had my doubts about the cow jumping over the moon. Cows weigh about 3,000 pounds; their bodies are longer than their legs, which really doesn’t make them good jumpers. The only time I have seen a cow or bull jump is when somebody tries to sit on their back and ride them. At this point they will jump only a few feet in the air.

When I was young I would question my mom about the cow jumping over the moon. She would just laugh and say sure, just look at a full moon and you will see a cow’s face. No matter how much I stared at the full moon, I never saw the cow’s face. But I always loved to look at the full moon just the same.

When my Italian husband was small, he remembers believing the moon was made of Swiss cheese. I think that was an Italian thing.

I am surprised he doesn’t say that Venus looks like provolone or Mars looks like sopressata.

The beauty of a full moon shining over our farm on a cold winter night with a fresh cover of white snow on the ground was a sight to see. The air was fresh and clean, the moon made shadows form from the buildings and trees. That vivid memory is a black-and-white picture worth framing.

The summer months were always my best times for moon gazing. It was a time for wishing and dreaming. When summer nights were too warm to sleep, I would sit by my window and watch the moon so high in the sky as I tried to catch any of the night’s cooling breezes that came my way.

Many nights I fell asleep with the moon beams shining in my bedroom window brighter than any night light. I always felt at peace during a full moon. I gave me the feeling that it was watching over our farm as we slept during the night.

I am still a moon lover today. Watching the moon rise is a favorite of mine, especially in the fall when it is so large and round. And even sometimes orange. I am big on watching any lunar eclipse whenever we can. I believe we are never too old to wish and dream upon the moon during a warm summer evening.

Many years ago, we took a cruise on the Atlantic Ocean. It was during a full moon. One of my favorite things was to sit on the deck and watch the moonlight bouncing over the ocean waves as it shined a bright path though the dark waters.

Last week marked the 1969 Apollo 11 landing on the moon. The first men to walk on the moon were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. They reported that the moon had a powderlike charcoal surface and that the landing craft left a crater about a foot deep. Who can forget those words Armstrong declared: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” They spent a little over two hours exploring the moon’s surface before they got back in their spacecraft and headed back to earth.

That was 49 years ago. I had just graduated high school a few months before. I was following this space trip from liftoff and was anxious to see what they would find. I can recall it was a 31-hour television super-special lasting Sunday into midday on that Monday. It was one of the most-watched events of the time. No, I was not too surprised that they did not find any cows up there.

On Friday, the Almanac says there will be a July full buck moon. It is at this time of the year that a buck’s antlers are in full growth. Another name for this month’s full moon is the thunder moon. The reasoning for this is that thunderstorms are more frequent in July.

The full moon names and descriptions come from the Native American tribes who used the full moons as a calendar to keep track of the seasons.

Take time to go out and enjoy the greatness and beauty of a full moon. The good news is that if you miss this one, there will be another one next month. And then another one the month after that. Be humbled in the fact that the full moon will shine monthly for eternity; long after you or I have left this Earth. Think of how important and powerful that is the next time this busy world gets you down.

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