Friday, June 13, the full moon was brilliant and somehow more special than most. My husband awoke in a night that never really grew dark, glimpsed the fairy lights in our neighbor’s yard — she’d hung more than usual for a party the week before — and thought he might be seeing fire. Foxfire? I asked the next day.


He told me he awoke at about 4 a.m.,spotted the “flames” and trundled downstairs. He grabbed his binoculars and stepped out the back door to take a look. At last he realized these were merely tiny lights, not small blazes. He went back to bed and slept well.

All this happened while I was sound asleep, out cold, having sat up for hours alone in the garden watching the moon rise. By way of good night, my husband had popped his head out the back door and announced: “An opinion is like a moon in a song.”

But the moon seems to wash us of opinions.

Aubrey Beardsley, The Woman in the Moon for Oscar Wilde's Salome

Aubrey Beardsley, The Woman in the Moon for Oscar Wilde’s Salome

In Polynesia, China, and Japan, the moon’s occupant is a woman. To the Mayans, she was a woman weaving. In Mesoamerica, Mongolia and India, there’s a Hare in the Moon (her cycle matches the gestation time for a rabbit). Or a toad. The spots on the moon were sometimes described as trees, sacred groves of Paradise. The Quechua and Aymara peoples believed that Moon Maiden coupled with her brother Sun and their offspring were the royal Inca of Cuzco.


I fetched my husband’s binoculars and tried to find the rabbit, the toad, the groves, the weaving woman. Our neighbor’s fairy lights flickered on and I went up to bed.