Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Once in a Blue Moon

The moving Moon went up the sky,

And nowhere did abide;

Softly she was going up

And a star or two beside - -

From 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)

The expression 'Once in a Blue Moon' means 'infrequently' or 'rarely' and originally referred to a second full moon in the same calendar month. December 2009 is a Blue Moon month so we can anticipate another full moon on New Year's Eve to shepherd out the old year and welcome in the new. Theoretically, since the moon is full every 29½ days, all months apart from February could experience a Blue Moon but they occur on average only every 33 months. The next Blue Moon after this month's will not be seen until August 2012. A newer definition of Blue Moon describes it as the third of four full moons in a season. I prefer the first characterisation since the seasons, in UK at least, are not always clearly delineated. The December full moon is called the Moon Before Yule, Long Night Moon, Christmas Moon or, more prosaically, the Cold Moon. Last night's full moon, though not the Blue Moon, appeared to have a bluish tinge as it shone through misty clouds.

Perhaps you will have the words and tune of Rodgers' and Hart's song running through your head when you see the words 'Blue Moon' . . .

Blue moon,

you saw me standing alone

without a dream in my heart

without a love on my own.

You can listen to Julie London singing it here


  1. Interesting to hear the definition of Blue Moon. I like your photo. It may not fit the definition, but the moon definitely has a blueish cast. Very pretty.

  2. That's something new I've learned today!

    I saw that gorgeous moon coming up just as I was going in to work, it looked beautiful as it came up above the sea. There were so many fab photo opportunities on my six mile drive, but - you've guessed it - no camera with me!!!

  3. Janie - thank you!
    Sue - isn't that always the case? I lost count of the stunning sunrises I saw as I drove my youngest daughter to school a few years ago. Perhaps we all need chauffeurs . . . ;-)

  4. Lovely photo. Of course Manchester City's club song is blue moon, no wonder.

  5. Lovely photo and fascinating info. I saw that beautiful full moon last night when I went to my computer class but didn't have my camera with me to capture it. By the time class ended, clouds obscured my view.
    Hugs and blessings,

  6. What a great shot. When I opened my curtains this morning the moon was very clear over the sea, and this afternoon I saw it again, very large and deep orange but like Sue I didn't have my camera.

  7. I love your shot of the blue moon. I had no idea where the saying came from,so you taught me something today. I saw the moon, very large and deep orange, rising over the sea this afternoon as I drove through Lossiemouth, but like Sue, no camera.

  8. Gorgeous photograph. Unfortunately, we are seeing only clouds. Perhaps next time.

  9. One of my all time favorite songs! It always feels special to have two moons in one month - makes me more aware!

  10. Loved this post and now I have Blue Moon running on repeat in my head! :O)
    My cat has been obnoxiously waking me up every morning this week at 4 a.m. and I'm sure its because that silvery/blue moonlight is pouring into our room.
    Life is good, yes?

  11. Joy - I hadn't appreciated the football connection . . .
    storyteller - isn't that just always the way?
    Chris - I sympathise!
    NCmountainwoman - we all have our chance to see the beauties of the world - just not 'on tap' ;-)
    Tumblewords - I LOVE Julie London's interpretation . . .
    noni - it's a great life if you don't weaken and your smile muscles are in good order ;-) (I speak as one who may be 'awakened' any time from 00:30 to 05:00 and all stations between . . . ahhhh, great!!


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