When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I lived on the island of St. Croix. One day while perusing books at a local shop, a woman started talking to me about motherhood. She didn’t offer up the usual advice most women do to first time moms, but she told me about one of the most beautiful things she’d witnessed as a mother. She told me about the children’s moon. I wasn’t sure what she was talking about at first, and she quickly explained how children so often notice the moon in the daytime it is known as the children’s moon. I wasn’t sure if I’d done the same thing as a child. She told me to wait and see.
I forgot about our conversation, and for the next year or two, I was your typical, full time sleep-deprived mom, just trying to keep my little one alive and find time to fit a shower in here and there. Then it happened. One day, before she was even speaking clearly, my toddler pointed to the sky and sure enough she was grinning and gesturing towards the moon, seen clearly in the daylight. At once, I remembered the conversation about the children’s moon.
Over the years, both of my daughters have pointed out the moon in the daytime so often, it has always made me smile. It makes me smile because they are so thrilled with the simple things, the things right in front of us. They don’t have to search for the secret to their happiness. It’s not some far-off goal, material item they have to have, or worldly success. They feel happy; they find happiness in the world around them and in the sky above. Sometimes I wish I could meet that lady again and thank her…
I’ve learned how to stop when I see the children’s moon now. For a moment, I forget the grown-up race, and my heart feels simply and undeniably happy. I smile at the children’s moon and wonder if just for a little while, it can be my moon. Who knows? Maybe it can be your moon, too.
Oh, and here is a link discussing some idea’s behind the origin of the term, “Children’s Moon” and an excerpt from the article:
“If you begin to look at the sky a lot, you’ll often see the daytime moon, too. Everyone loves to see the daytime moon. It’s beautiful and serene, floating against the blue sky. Once, a reader in Kansas City wrote in with the name children’s moon to describe a moon visible during the day. She said this name stemmed from the idea that children can’t stay up at night late enough to see the moon when it appears only in darkness.
That story prompted another reader to send in an alternate version for the origin of the name children’s moon. She wrote:
I heard a daytime moon was called a ‘children’s moon’ because their eyes were sharp enough to pick it out, where the old folks, with fading vision, could not tell it from the clouds.”
The day is here,
The people pass,
Hurrying down the shore.
There are sights to see,
Things to do,
Always hungry for more.
Look for dolphins,
Look for boats,
Some must exercise.
But urgency is not for you,
Patient bird with yellow eyes.
You calmly watch the gentle waves
And rarely even move.
The world goes on,
Hardly noticing you.
Yet something beckons me to pause,
Admire your intricate design.
I take a deep and cleansing breath
As people keep passing you by.
I think I’ll sit here for a few,
Reflect and learn from the watcher.
There’s something strangely magical,
watching you, watching the water.
~Sarah Elle Emm
As we drove away from our house the other morning, my youngest child cheered enthusiastically from the backseat. “Look, Mama, ibis!” Sure enough, to the right of the vehicle was a group of them. I smiled, proud my kids are learning to point out varying birds they see along the way, just like some of their great-great grandparents taught their grandmother to do, who in turn taught her children to do.
The next moment she asked, “What are they saying, Mama?”
I smiled again, laughing to myself. I’m not sure if their great-greats taught anyone that. In an effort to entertain my children, I tell them stories pretty often, and usually ibises and other birds we spot along our drives end up in my stories. I tell them tales about the ibises spying on our house, to see when we leave so they can bother Shorty the Wonder Dog, our household hound. They love these stories because they’ve seen how Shorty reacts to a flock of ibis, or any type of bird in our yard for that matter, and it is always a comical spectacle. While Shorty might not have the same reasons, one thing is for sure, she is interested in birds. From the patio door she growls and barks at them, and when I open the door she takes off like lightning, chasing them out of her territory. After her mighty chase and from pure exhaustion at having worked her tiny legs so strenuously, she goes back to her bed, returning to dreamland. The dog likes to sleep. So naturally, when my child asks me what the birds are saying, I tell her they are watching us leave so they can go hang out in our yard and irritate Shorty, who is only concerned with protecting her family from the big bad ibises.
This morning, there were ten of them in our yard, and Shorty was dying to go after them, but I snuck out first and took a couple of photos. I thought about my youngest child as I watched them. What are they saying Mama? The ibises seemed to tolerate my presence but studied me cautiously. I’m quite certain they were discussing whether or not I was going to let them enjoy their breakfast in peace or whether I would release Shorty the Wonder Dog to disturb them. So after a few minutes I went back inside, and did what all good pet owners would do I suppose, and I let Shorty out. 😉 Those birds were gone within ten seconds, and Shorty could go back to sleep with a burden lifted. She had defended her family from the tormenting ibises. 😉
‘Sunset Celebration’ by Sarah Elle Emm
We’ve come to bask in your majesty.
To feel the warmth of your kiss.
We celebrate this day
With our feet dancing in the sand,
Confident we lived it to the fullest,
Grateful you were witness.
We venture closer to you, and cool water chills our toes,
Sending echoes of laughter and gratitude your way.
Twirling, smiling, humming, running on the shore,
We let it all out.
As your flaming power descends, out of our view,
We sigh, fully spent with thankful hearts.
We gave this day our all.
Your trail of pink hues fades away before us, and we bid you goodnight.
Sleep will come easy now.
A new dawn will lift us up soon enough.
And we’ll be ready to dance in your glory again.
Meet a pair of snowy egret entertainers, if you will. My mother was visiting recently, and we watched as these two stealth-like creatures took bait from a fisherman’s bucket… when he wasn’t looking. They were quite comical, these two, and had my mom laughing for a good hour. I enjoyed the show as well but didn’t want to give them away to the fisherman, so I waited patiently to photograph them when he was packing up to leave.
It was quite nice to watch the birds with Mom, especially considering the peacefulness of the afternoon. The first half of my life includes a movie reel of near collisions and off-road adventure thanks to Mom excitedly pointing at birds along the drive. Inheriting the bird watching trait was inevitable, though I prefer to watch birds from a stationary position myself. 😉
I jog in the mornings and rarely have my ‘real’ camera on me. If I don’t have my camera on me, you can bet I’ll see dolphins! The other morning, I decided to do my best with my I-phone camera. So please excuse the cell phone photos and video, but I think dolphins are so spectacular, I decided to share the images. 🙂