October is upon us and all the stores are stocked with candy and costumes for the holiday at the end of the month. Whether we live in the countryside or in an urban community the full moon is our opportunity to be reminded of a time when people didn’t have electricity. For those communities still working their way through the devastation of the many hurricanes, they will be more appreciative of the night sky as there will be no other light available to them.
When people still lived without power and had only candle and starlight to see them through the night a full moon was an event; it affected the tides and trade as well. We today in the modern world don’t think about living without power until everything goes dark. The full moon is that globe in the sky that our ancestors watched perhaps around a fire or in the quiet of night from a balcony. We have electricity and for all the modern glow of an urban setting I still like having that time to gaze up at our partner through space in the quiet of night.
In my life I have lived in busy cosmopolitan cities such as Orlando Florida, Charleston South Carolina, and Newport News Virginia, but the moon shine there wasn’t as loud as it was on a mountain top in Huntingdon County Pennsylvania or in Quinton Township New Jersey. In upstate New York we lived north of Saratoga Springs and the ground was covered with dazzling snow much of the winter and reflecting the moon’s glow brilliantly. The yard and woods sparkling like a field of diamonds, only it is very, very cold and did I mention that in temperament I am a southerner and not suited to glacier living. As such my moon gazing was limited to our nocturnal excursions in town sampling warming elixirs at the pubs in Saratoga Springs along Broadway or by window enjoying a delicious meal at the historic Olde Bryan Inn.
Living in the tri-state area has many advantages in that we may enjoy a show at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, or a day trip down to historic Cape May, and even the beautiful museums and famous homes such as Nemours Mansion and Gardens in Delaware. When it comes to welcoming in October’s full moon I will be partaking of the best seat, my own backyard. Candy and costumes aside a glass of rich garnet colored Chianti in hand and our local barred owls hooting a lovely duet, is something I will always value. No matter how bright and shiny our neighboring cosmopolitan communities are, they are missing that primitive call harkening back through the ages when the night sky is more magical and more marvelous than the mini-computer in our pocket.