Once in a Blue Orange Moon

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. In sunny California it is the time fall weather finally starts to settle in. I pick out pumpkins to set by the door. Most years, my carving takes a back seat, and I settle for painting or sticking outsize eyes and a mouth on it instead.

But we decorate the house – bats and owls stickers fly around avoiding the fake spider webs. Hasty orange construction paper is stuck around the outside light, and all things orange are ready to be displayed for one whole evening.

I remember a few years ago on an evening walk after a vigorous trick-or-treating, I felt a thrill and stood there mesmerized for a moment as an owl flew against the moonlight. I know Zen and Buddhist teachers tell us to enjoy the significance of every moment. I am not sure about every moment but a few moments do  lodge themselves in a magical spot. The owl flying across the moon was one such. I remember standing there bathed in the magic of it all. The owl of course is a visceral being, and was after its prey – nothing more nothing less. Halloween was an affair that was of no consequence to it. 

The blue moon will shine its benign light on us on Halloween. The trick-or-treaters will be thin on the ground, of course, because of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, and I should think bats will not be getting that warm a reception with humanity this year! 

The son got himself a costume that has a mask with an air filter on it keeping with the grim theme the world is cloaked in. “Hint!” I said holding up my hand in a V with two fingers on either side to those who tried to guess what it was on the video camera. The son shook his head disappointed and said, “Your hint is from Star Trek! My costume is from Star Wars!” Ahh well.

The son wore his Halloween costume to class today. This would have to be the poor substitute for the marvelous parade they usually get to attend on Halloween, but he dressed up with gusto . I was excited to see his classmates dressed up too: their tiny passport sized icons on the screen showing me the heads of princesses and pirates would have to do.  Their teacher was kind enough to let me read my book, Halloween in the Jungle, to them. Reading the books to the children is by far one of the best experiences I have had. Their reception to the story, their thoughtful questions thereafter, and their wholehearted enjoyment of the simple story is more than enough for me. Why? Oh why do we lose that marvelous feeling of youth as we grow older?

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Tango Tiger, Janny Rat, Boy Elephant, Biso Bison, Spotty Rat and all their delightful pals are heading into their 7th year celebrating Halloween in the Jungle. The Halloween in the Jungle book has since given me immense joy. 

But this time, I feel a special bond to the little tykes as they revel in the clearing by Luda Lake, eating pumpkin pies, drinking orange and persimmon juice, and dancing to the lovely sounds of the musical orchestra with Nighty Nightingale, Owl, Bat and Frog. You see this time, just like the illustrations show, there will be a marvelous full moon night to light up Halloween. 

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Blue moons are not as rare as we think, for they come around every 2-3 years. But apparently, this is the first time since World War II that a full moon visible from everywhere in the US coincided with Halloween. I am not one to set much store by signs, but if after the 1944 Halloween full moon, we were able to set the world to rights, surely a Halloween full moon and a blue moon at that should work miracles.

Happy Halloween!

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