Monday, January 4, 2010

Blue Moon

"The start of a decade always seems ten times as auspicious as the beginning of a mere new year." -- Thomas Mallon

Although as children we all practically memorize "The Night Before Christmas" without even trying, this story contains some phrases that surely no child can fully understand. I was always puzzled by "The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow / Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below" and "As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, / When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky." What could those words mean?

At last, after paying closer attention to twenty or thirty autumns, the imagery makes sense, and I am able to visualize the coursers (now that I know coursers = reindeer) rising swiftly like the dry leaves that cyclone up through a swirling fall gust.

And the moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow? The luster of mid-day to objects below? That's what I've seen the past few nights, looking down the street, or out of my window at the brilliant blue-white landscape and stark silhouettes back-lit by the luminous Blue Moon that appeared on New Year's Eve to welcome in 2010, a most auspicious decade . . . as foretold by prophecy!

[Rarely does the Blue Moon appear on New Year’s Eve, but it did this year, well make that last year, the year just passed -- on 31 December 2009. The last Blue Moon on a New Year's Eve was in 1990 -- Ben's first Christmas!]

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