Thursday, 6 August 2009

Howling at the moon


I felt quite lunatic last night, in the light of a full moon, and remembered what a friend of mine (a doctor) said to me recently: when she worked in the Accident and Emergency department of a big hospital, they always saw a surge in numbers on the night of a full moon. (More moonlore is to be found in Rick Stroud's book of the moon; all that you ever wanted to know, as well as things you didn't even know that you wanted to know, until you read them -- which is just what one needs in a book that can be returned to, over and over again.)
My first child was born at a full moon, and I realised I was pregnant with him when I drove over the Westway into London, and saw a full moon rising in the winter nightsky. So the moon seems significant to me; a visible sign of the passing of time, and yet also of circularity, of changelessness.
It's one of those everyday (every month) reminders of the magic and madness of everyday life, and also of otherworldiness; of how we return to where we began, and why it might seem that the world revolves around us, yet it does not, and can never do; and even though we often place ourselves at the centre of our own narratives, the story follows its own course, waxing and waning, like the moon.

8 comments:

Lou said...

As a nurse who works night shifts I can definitely vouch for what your friend says.Little old ladies trying to get out of bed with their nighties half-mast is a scenario that comes to mind!
It was a beautiful full moon last night here in Melbourne,Australia.

oxford-reader said...

When in Norwich for my MA year, it happened to be a lunar eclipse the night of my birthday. I stood in the alley behind the house, and stared up at the moon as it was slowly obscured. Wonderful.
My housemate would howl at the moon - but only after driving to a secluded spot so as not to scare the neighbours!

kairu said...

I caught a glimpse of the moon through the living room window last night, and ran up to the roof to take a photograph. It was so beautiful. I've heard that same thing about more people coming into the emergency room during a full moon.

You remind me of a fairly recent collection of short stories, by Ben Greenman. It is called "A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories about Human Love." Central is the thought that love both lifts us off the ground - the balloon - and grounds us, guides us - the compass. Like the moon, which lights up the darkness and leads us to safety.

JonathanM said...

Lovely post.

Justine Picardie said...

And lovely comments. I like the thought of all of us looking at the moon last night, on other sides of the world. The same moon, but at different moments, on various latitudes and longitudes.

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