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Saturday, January 02, 2010

once in a very belewe moon



Folklore tells us that people of long ago named each moon, depending on the time of year it shown. The harvest moon, say, and the summer moon.

A moon which appeared too early, an extra moon in the seasonal cycle, was called a blue moon.

When it came before the Lent Moon, preachers dubbed it the belewe moon, or, the betrayer moon.



Mary at Beauty Amongst the Weeds and Kathleen at Hill Country Mysteries both blogged about our New Year's Eve moon. A cold and blustery night here in Texas, Sam and I, along with a group of friends, toasted the New Year beside an outdoor fire pit. We looked up to the sky, champagne in hand. After the sparkles of the roman candles dissipated, the clouds moved away to reveal the big blue moon directly over our heads.

What does it mean when a blue moon shines on the very last night of the year? Is it an omen that foreshadows an ill wind? Or an auspicious promise of a better turn of events?

I took an interest in blue moons after hearing a native Texan, Nanci Griffith, sing this version of "Once in a Very Blue Moon." I was in Texas only a year or two when I first saw her performing it on video. I believe it was on MTV. This was back when MTV was a prized commodity, when party locations were determined based solely on who subscribed to it because it was that new and that cool.

You could call it a driveway moment in my living room. Mezmerized, I bought nearly all of her albums, went to see her live, became a lifelong fan. With this one song, I ventured away from pop and rock music and toward the more soulful folk.

A grammy award winner, Nanci mentions Austin's Congress Avenue in her love song, So Long Ago. A native Texan, she was schooled in Austin at the University of Texas. She taught kindergarten and first grade here in the 1970's. Those lucky little students. I wonder, did she bring her guitar to class and sing? Where are they now? And do they realize their good fortune?

Nanci does a haunting rendition of Bob Dylan's Boots of Spanish Leather, if you like what you've heard so far. Her duet with John Prine, Speed of the Sound of Loneliness, is another one that stops me in my tracks every time I hear it.

In 1986, Nanci put together The Blue Moon Orchestra. They've been recording and performing with her ever since.

So for me? There's no question. A new year welcomed by a blue moon is all good.

26 comments:

Agent X said...

This is a lovely post. I like to think of the blue moon as a good omen.

Rachel Cotterill said...

Any full moon is a beautiful thing, and that's ok by me! :)

Madge said...

I think it is a very good omen. Looking forward to this year.

Madge said...

I think it is a very good omen. Looking forward to this year.

sherry said...

I love Nanci's cover of Dylan's Boots of Spanish Leather.

I sure hope the New Year's Blue Moon is a positive omen.

Well done, my dear.

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

I choose to think it's a sign of good things to come.

What gorgeous pictures!!

Tammy said...

That's the first time I've heard that song or that singer... Simply beautiful!

We had too much cloud cover to see the blue moon, but I knew it was there! I find it a very good sign for the upcoming year!

Fragrant Liar said...

I'm with you. The blue moon portends only good.

Except I didn't see it because of the clouds. I'll just take everybody's word that it was really there in the sky and channel it for a fabulous 2010.

Happy New Year!

blognut said...

It's an omen. I love Blue Moon beer, so a blue moon in the sky must be a good thing, too. See? It makes perfect sense... if you're me. Which I am... I think.

Whew. I've gotta lay off the beer. :)

Jocelyn said...

I love the reflective place this post came from. You taught me something about moons--and reminded me of how much I have adored Nanci (and John Prine) for almost twenty years now. Wonderful.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Well, dang. I should have gone outside and looked at the moon on New Year's Eve.

Elizabeth said...

I posted, too, about the blue moon and read that it was very auspicious, so that's good. Thank you for a wonderful post -- I especially enjoyed the Nanci Griffith song. I haven't listened to her in the longest time and had forgotten this song! Happy New Year!

Mary said...

Sigh - such a pretty song..

and I have to believe it brings good with it...With Will surviving a difficult birth 13 years ago and being born on a blue moon I do believe it is a lucky sign..

Oh My Goddess said...

I'm going with it's a very good sign. I like Nanci, thanks for the introduction.

Mental P Mama said...

I am in complete agreement! And I love Nanci Griffith;)

Real Live Lesbian said...

I love NG! An incredible songwriter, she is! Being a Nashvillian, I hear lots about her here.

Happy New Year and of course, it's a beautiful omen!

Kathleen Scott said...

Thanks for the mention. Glad you celebrated moonside too. Can't think of anything better than champagne under a blue moon.

I think we live happier when we observe the changes of the natural world. Somehow it helps us track our place in things.

Thanks, too, for introducing us to Nanci Griffith.

Jenny from Chicago said...

Madam. This is one funny blog. I found you through Andrea's blog. Great stuff.

Christie said...

What would be the best to me is temperatures warm enough to actually sit outside on new year's eve. Think I'm living in the wrong state.

P.S. Thanks for popping by my blog and for your sweet words.

JCK said...

Oh, what a voice!

Yes, I remember those MTV days. You made me laugh over the PRESTIGE of having MTV. "I've got my MTV" afterall...

Happy New Year, dear friend. I'm sorry I've been so scarce. I look forward to catching up on you here at your, always lovely, blog.

I'm looking at the blue moon on New Year's Eve as a good thing, too.

Pete said...

I have a copy of NG's "Boots of Spanish Leather" so feeling quite hip now! Lovely voice. And lovely pics. Thanks for pointing out the good omens.

Jenny from said...

It is going to be the best year yet!

apathy lounge said...

Totally beautiful. Wish I had been there.

Eternally Distracted said...

I went to the desert for New Years eve and witnessed the blue moon - fairly spectacular...even with a brain that was swimming in champagne ;0)

Tongue Trip said...

really liked your post. was interesting to know about the old tales...good omen and bad...sigh...i wish i had looked at the moon that night though.
thanks..lovely pictures too.

Hip Mom's Guide said...

When we saw the moon that night, my dad gave me the whole blue moon story and do you know...I wasn't sure I believed it. But here, you tell the same one. Just goes to show I ought to listen to my dad.

It was stunningly beautiful--how can that not be good?!