Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bad Moon Arising

There had been quite a bit of hype over the “supermoon” of November 13 and 14—the brightest moon in 68 years. This was going to be a full moon on steroids. A photographer’s dream.

Well, even though I had it on my calendar, I crawled into bed and settled down with my book. My phone buzzed, and I looked at it. Reminder: Supermoon.  

I jumped out of bed and wandered out onto the deck to take a few shots of the moon. Yes, it was bright and silvery. I took some photos, made a few camera adjustments, took some more and went back to bed.

The next morning started early for me. As I walked past my bedroom window, I saw a bright moon shining in the west. Before I’d had my first cup of coffee, I put on my boots and wandered out into the field to take photos of the moon. The sun was rising in the east and the play of light on the russet fall leaves made a different kind of moon photo than I’d taken at the midnight hour.

Whew. Supermoon over, I could go back to regular sunset photos.

That night, I had line dancing class. I pulled out of the garage and saw a bright orange-yellow moon peeping over the horizon. I ran back inside to grab my camera. I braced my arms on the car door and took a few shots.

Well, supermoon was supposed to be over, so that’s just a bad moon arising, I thought to myself. I knew the full moon had been the previous night, but the difference was subtle. I couldn’t help but think about the changes in Jim’s behavior during the full moon.

I know, I know, some people believe that’s just an old wives’ tale. In this case, I’d have to count myself as an old wife, because I saw it firsthand.

Most scientists believe the moon only affects open liquid, like the ocean, and not enclosed liquid such as in the human brain. But, you know if you dig deep enough, you can prove just about anything with Google and, lo and behold, I found a scientific study on the moon’s effect on a person with Alzheimer’s.

Alan M. Beck (sorry, no letters after his name), Purdue University, conducted a longitudinal study of the moon’s effect on persons with Alzheimer’s. His sought to “objectively examine the lunar influence on the frequency, duration, and intensity of behaviors in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.”

The behaviors he studied were wandering, anxiety, physical aggression, and verbal confrontation. His conclusion—wait for it—aligned with mine. The study showed that people with Alzheimer’s disease not only exhibited more behaviors during the full moon—they exhibited significantly more. I’m certain that was not new information for nursing home workers.

After my impromptu photo shoot, I headed to the Celebration Center for my line dancing class, the moon was in full view most of the time. I kept thinking about “Bad Moon Rising” by Credence Clearwater Revival. I hadn’t heard that song in years. It always made me think of that scene in the Twilight Zone movie where the passenger in the car asks the driver, “You want to see something really scary?” Yep. Full moons, or almost full moons, can be bad moons.

I pushed all thoughts of bad moons to the back of my mind and turned on the happy feet for line dancing. After about fifty minutes, we formed a circle to do a dance called “around the world.” Our leader, Ruth, ran us through the steps so that we went in the right direction at the right time and didn’t knock each other down. She cued up the music and the sounds of “Bad Moon Rising” filled the room.

As we danced around the full-moon shaped circle, we laughed at how fast we were moving. Was it a coincidence that we danced to that song for the first time on the night I saw a bad moon arising? Of course, it was! Wasn’t it? Just to be safe, I’m not going out anymore tonight.

Copyright © November 2016 by L.S. Fisher
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