This Christmas, I received what I think is going to be the most amazing bottle of beer ever from my son Connor’s equally amazing girlfriend, Morgan. Technically speaking, Dialogues, made by The Referend Bier Blendery in Kutztown, PA, is a spontaneously fermented ale that has been aged in oak barrels along with various grapes, juice, and pomace. Wow, right?? That’s what I think too. To make matters even more interesting, there is a Pablo Neruda quote on the back of the bottle that is part of a poem called “Ode to the Dictionary:”
…words as slippery as smooth grapes, words exploding in the light like dormant seeds waiting in the vaults of vocabulary, alive again, and giving life: once again the heart distills them.
Earlier this week, my wonderful, wonderful cousin Nancy, who has always been like the sister I never had in so many ways, sent me this quote by Rumi: “There is a moon inside every human being. Learn to be companions with it.” Now, I have written quite a few posts about the moon during the lifetime of this blog; the most recent one entitled Moon Cycle was back in July of this year. It remains my favorite. In it, I talk a lot about the difficulty we can have in trusting the things we see by the light of the moon because they are shadowy and obscure, and we often end up second guessing their reality. Additionally, if we are afraid of the dark, like yours truly, being outside at night can bring on quite a bit of anxiety. To get past these feelings of uncertainty or fear, we have to learn to listen to our intuition, and meeting this requirement gives us one of the moon’s greatest gifts. Because the moon has always been the earth’s only satellite and therefore the most observable celestial object in the sky, ancient astrologers correlated its changing phases and constant movement with both our physical bodies and our deepest emotions. While modern astrology favors the emotional component a bit more heavily, both sides agree that the moon’s reflective quality, as it relates to the sun, symbolizes the means by which we come to understand and interact with the world. When viewed in this way, the moon becomes our interpreter, our transmitter, and our guide.
I have always found gardening to be one of life’s most rewarding pursuits. I was introduced to it at a very young age, growing up first in the city of Camden where everyone had gardens in the open area that led to the Delaware River behind our row homes, and then later in the suburban town we moved to when I was six. My parents were fortunate to again have an empty field at the back of their property that my father quickly transformed into a huge garden. My own gardens that I grew as an adult were much smaller in scale, but they still seemed to produce a bumper crop every year. My dad and I differed in our ways of doing things. I like raised beds, and he preferred gardens that stepped down. He saw no use for flowers among the vegetables, and I liked to intermix the two, sometimes even according to color. He’d reach for the strongest spray in his lean-to behind the garage at the first sign of pests or fungus, and I preferred organic methods that made him laugh. I felt very close to him when we talked about ideas for planting, or when I consulted him for help. By the time I was growing things of my own, he’d given up his own garden and enjoyed spending time in mine as a result. HIs parents were gardeners too, as were my mom’s parents, so there was also the feeling that we were continuing a tradition that had started many years ago. I share that same sense of connection with my son, Zachary, who also loves to garden, and I’m pleased to say that my daughter, Wendy, has also taken up the practice in the last few years. It definitely feels like something that runs in the family in a very deep way.
As some of you may recall, I am a huge fan of the 2018 movie Call Me By Your Name and actually wrote a post about it back in March of 2018 that was entitled I Remember Everything, arguably the film’s most well-known line. A few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of the book, which I’d had on my reading list since I’d seen the movie. How I wish I’d read it sooner. It was fabulous! One of the issues I often have with movies that are based on books written in the first person is that we tend to lack the information we need to fully understand the emotional depth of their stories. In the movie Call Me By Your Name, we are given glimpses into what Elio is feeling, but only through hesitant dialogue and yearning looks. For example, there is a part early on in the film when Elio plays a song on the guitar that catches Oliver’s attention. Oliver wants him to play it again, and Elio eventually obliges, but he does so on the piano, making it sound very different. It’s not what Oliver was hoping for. There’s an exasperated exchange between the two characters, and eventually Elio plays what Oliver wants to hear. The relevance of this scene is hard to understand in the movie, but in the book, it becomes a moment that is highly portentous. The back-and-forth between the two characters happens in much the same way, but later that night when Elio is writing in his diary, we learn how much he is struggling with understanding Oliver’s moods, which range from ice to sunshine, and the extent to which he finds his own equally inscrutable. He concludes the entry by saying, “We are not written for one instrument alone; I am not, neither are you.”
Two days ago the biggest super moon of 2022 graced us with its fullness. This particular July spectacle is called the Buck Moon because it coincides with the point in summer when the antlers of male deer have reached their largest size. As many of you know, every moon also has a symbolic interpretation that’s closely tied to the name assigned to it by The Farmer’s Almanac. Sometimes these meanings are a bit obscure, or their correlation is very broad, but that’s not the case with this moon. We can grasp its signification fairly easily, and we quickly understand that it’s all about channeling our own potential for growth while recognizing what might be standing in our way. The energy of any full moon, in general, is always about releasing that which does not serve us. This particular full moon pushes us to let go of the impediments that are preventing us from taking the next steps on our journey, the ones that will challenge us to grow and become what we’re meant to be. Does this all sound a bit over the top to you? It should. Full moons are loaded with drama, especially those that are incredibly big like this one. Not only do super moons outshine other full moons in terms of clarity and brightness, but they also score higher on the energy and impact scale as well.