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Sliver

Enjoy each phase of the moon

Do you remember the little song lyrics from your childhood days that went, “I see the moon and the moon sees me, God bless the moon and God bless me?”

The moon has captivated young and old as their eyes turn skyward at night looking at the mysterious enchanting orbiter of our planet Earth. Songs, fictional stories, nursery rhymes, jewelry, and art are just a few of the items that have been devoted to Earth’s constant companion. The glistening of a full moon upon the water brings a sense of beauty and peace to quiet the soul.

The Farmer’s Almanac lists the phases of the moon for a whole year with numerous suggestions of what to do and not to do during the various phases of the moon. My favorite folklore about the moon concerns cutting your hair in the light of the moon for it to grow faster. My grandmother lived by that moon myth, which was a fact in her opinion, and I never argued with my grandmother.

The moon has eight phases, which are visible to the human eye. The new moon is when we are unable to see the moon. Those of us who live in the northern hemisphere see the waxing crescent phase as a sliver of light on the right side of the moon. Eventually that evolves into the first quarter, or more commonly called, a half moon. As the moon continues to grow in visibility, it enters the waxing gibbous stage, which is what many call a three-quarter moon. Finally, the moon reaches its full stage, and we see it in all its glory. Then the waning gibbous stage begins as the moon’s illumination starts to slowly fade and only three-quarters of the moon is visible. More illumination disappears to become the third-quarter phase, or the half moon. Soon the waning crescent is seen as a slight sliver on the left side of the moon. When the sliver of illumination disappears, it becomes the new moon again, and the phases repeat the cycle over and over.

I came across an old black and white photograph the other day that brought many fond memories back to my mind. My family vacationed at Mullett Lake in northern Michigan. We rented a small cabin that was part of a larger group of cabins right across from the lake. Friendships were formed and soon every fall a group of us would reserve the cabins for the same weeks. I was in the waxing crescent phase of my life being just a “sliver” of a child. It was a glorious time with the families. We had a corn roast every year on the night of a full moon. Hot dogs and hamburgers were cooked or roasted, and everyone contributed some other tasty casserole. S’mores topped off the outdoor smorgasbord for dessert.

After the cleaning up, we sat around the huge campfire singing songs from yesteryear and current classics of the day back in the 1960s. One man played the ukulele, while two brothers played guitar. We sang “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” and “Shine on Harvest Moon” under a beautiful starry sky and a gorgeous full moon. Every phase of the Moon was represented in that circle of crooners.

Some, like me, were in the waxing crescent phase. Some were in the first quarter or half moon phase.. A few were in the waxing gibbous phase. Most of the adults were in the full moon phase. A couple were in the waning gibbous phase, but no one was in the third quarter phase, the waning crescent phase, or the new moon phase. As the years advanced, more of the moon’s phases could be seen as all of us grew older and entered our own new phases. Slowly some of the adults entered the third quarter phase and waning crescent phase of their lives. We still sang the songs of old and the new hits of the current year.

Then the new moon phase came into my life. I had a child growing inside of me where we can’t see the life yet just like we can’t see the new moon. The following year I returned to our precious group in the waxing crescent stage. My daughter was just a “sliver’ of a child. As she grew, more phases came into my life and hers. I am now in the third quarter phase of my life, and my daughter is in the full moon phase of her life. All of the adults of the original group are gone now, but the phases of the lives of their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren continue the ever repeating cycle. The moon has repeated its cycles thousands of times since my waxing crescent days on the shores of Mullett Lake.

As I look again at the aged photographs of those happy times, I think back on those wonderful times of sharing food and song together. When it was time to turn in, my father and I would go to the lake and walk out on the dock to stare up at the full moon and gaze upon its moonbeams dancing in the water. It was a perfect ending to a perfect night.

Our lives are just like the moon’s phases as it orbits around Earth in an unceasing pattern. We travel this life and enter new phases just as all the generations that have gone before us. The moon has shed its illumination on countless people who, just like us, have gazed upon its beauty among the twinkling stars. Enjoy each phase of your life. Be the illumination when someone is in a dark place. Cherish friends and family and celebrate every phase of their lives. When the next full moon arises, go out, look up, smile, and whisper the words of that old song, “I see the moon and moon sees me, God bless the moon and God bless me.”

Kim Fortune is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Huron Daily Tribune. She can be reached by emailing hdt_news@hearstnp.com. 

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