Living under the stars, closer to the elements, the ancients studied the moon’s cycle, measuring time by it and viewing the lunar revolution around Earth as indicative of the circle of life. Birth, death. Construction, destruction.
I watched for that big golden disc on Saturday night for a different reason: I hosted close to a hundred people in my backyard for a live music celebration called Full Moon Rising. Its appearance would have given meaning to the event’s name and also provided great light under which my guests could move about.
It seems hypocritical, doesn’t it? I mean, ending last week’s blog with a link to Graham Hill’s 420 square foot apartment in SoHo, in which, amazingly, he can host ten people for dinner, while I have ten times Hill’s living space on a decadent 2.2 acres. It’s a shameful carbon footprint, I know. But, here’s the thing, and pay attention, because it’s hard to understand. When my late husband Hugh and I built our house in a corn field in 1986, it was on the back 100 acres of his father’s corn field. Until recently, our township had a moratorium on severances, which means we could own the house, but not the land it sits on. We raised our three kids here with the belief we’d get the land severed eventually and, if not, Hugh would be taking over his father’s farm, so did it really matter? Then, Hugh went and died. Suddenly it mattered a lot.
Well, I recently received “conditional” approval for severance, so now money and paper and appropriate signatures must churn through bureaucratic hands and at some unknowable, but hopefully near future, date I will have the opportunity to own the land around a house that’s been in existence for close to thirty years. Something to celebrate, yes?
When you have a big house and yard you often host events. I’d like to say that any anxiety I have about this has long since dissipated, but that’s a lie. I think I tie a couple of things to my self-worth: 1) enthusiastic acceptance of invitations and 2) the overall appearance of my home and gardens.
“Maybe we’re too old to come up with a hundred friends/acquaintances?” I whined to my fiancé B when there was about a week to go and confirmations hovered around 50.
B is in the event business. He’s used to selling thousands of tickets. He laughed. “It’s early yet.”
And those days, when home and gardens were in shambles because I worked full-time, ran kids around and thought the lawn took eight hours to cut (it takes three to four) due to the mower breaking down and/or stoppages to referee kids’ fights, are long gone. But, seriously, maintaining a home and gardens of this magnitude is like running a small company. I hire a housekeeper for inside. I hire my nephew Joe to cut grass in July and August. As much as I love digging in the dirt surrounded by butterflies and dragonflies and birds, I do sometimes stare longingly at tiny houses with one flower bed in the front, daydreaming about all of the books I could read (or write!) because I don’t have nineteen more flower beds to weed.
With home and gardens in order, the important thing for Saturday’s event – more important than the appearance of the full moon, but as important as holding back the rain – was employing these Beatles lyrics: “Oh I get by with a little help from my friends.” And the word “friends” is synonymous with “family”.
Friends to invite more friends. To park vehicles. To take pictures. To become “fire and ice” (stoke the fire, ice the cooler). To participate in open mic. To chow down on great food provided by Spectra. To dance and sing along to the music of Full Petty Fever. To throw money in the bucket for a great charity, celebrating 35 years this year, Terry Fox Foundation.
It helps that I’m marrying a man adept at running big venues. “I’ll be taking my shower at 4:45,” B whispered in my ear at one point, when most items were checked off his list.
The big golden disc showed itself the night before, with a bit more wax to add. And the night after, as it started waning, cycling back. The night of fullness? That was in all of us as we wandered the park-like setting of my backyard. Full bellies. Full ears. Full hearts.
Photo credit Richard Campbell. Aerial shot by Jetanne DiCola.