Moonbow in Maui from

It is 239,000 miles away and pretty much a wasteland with nothing to breathe in, 243 degrees Fahrenheit days and 272 degrees below zero nights.

And yet, I have always been drawn – like tides – to things lunar. I came across a good article online from Mother Earth News called “Lunar Nature” written by Terry Krautwurst. What’s here is just a teaser and if these topics interest you too, go on to the article.

I have no desire to live or go to the Moon. My fascination with the moon is what it changes about our planet and the people on it. I enjoy reading about gravity, tides and astronomical events, but I am more interested in things like moonshine, honeymoons, and full moon mythologies. (It is its own category on this blog!)

The article talks about some of those more figurative lunar topics.

Moonwatching for birds is one example. Bird watchers doing their bird counts use the full moon as a backlit point of reference for watching the night sky. The majority of migrating birds (swallows, sparrows, herons, warblers, flycatchers, nuthatches, wrens, orioles and most others) are moving at night.

Sure, there’s also scientist who use radar to do these counts, but…

Luna Moth

And another lunar flyer are the moon moths. They are the large, colorful and feathery-antennaed ones.

Most moth and butterflies come out of their dormant stage because the temperatures start to moderate – like plants sensing spring. But luna moths pupa have a clear moon roof (really, a cuticle) that lets their brain detect lengthening days through its cocoon.

Some natural magic tells them that it is time to leave the cocoon, head up a tree and hang upside down until its wings are ready.

There are also moon fruits like the moonseeds which are not for us mere humans to eat (dangerous!) but are important  for many birds.

Most powerfully and well known are the ways that the Earth and moon synchrony affects each of those body’s gravity and how those pulls move our oceans. That is a very predictable and precise pull that we call tides.

Those twice-a-day highs and lows might also be affecting the water inside you. After all, most of you is liquid.

On Earth, there are those not-land-not-sea places called intertidal zones. They are places full of marine organisms who live, reproduce and die in sync with what the moon controls.

What about human lunacy? Lunacy is that word (from Latin luna for moon) created to explain madness that was once thought to be caused by full moons.

You have probably heard at least once that crime, emergency room admissions, depression, suicides, road kills,  birth rates, stock market performance, dog bites and medical miracles are affected by the moon. The science behind all those is questionable, but the belief and interest in them is real.

If  lunar cycles affect insects, birds, fish and other mammals, why not humans?

Is it the fluids within us that are affected, or is it the moon’s changing reflected light?

The article mentions that owls are less active when the moon is full and field mice eat more, while badgers mate more often, and those undersea creatures forage more in those darker new-moon periods.  Maybe you can explain some of these things by saying that predators are less likely to see you when it is darker, so that’s when you are more active – but that takes the Romance out of it.

The moon phenom I still need to experience is a moonbow. This nighttime rainbow is even more rare than the daytime beauty. You need a clear, dark night, heavy mist or raindrops in front of you, and a particularly bright full or near-full moon shining low in the sky behind you. There’s a full moon coming up in a few days – Be Ready.

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