Only Once in a Blue Moon

Welcome to June! Not sure what gives me the right to be June?s welcoming committee, but I?m taking it on anyway. Someone needs to. You see, June 2007 is not your ordinary June. In fact, you could say it only comes along once in a blue moon.

The moon?s cycle is 29.5 days, which means that the extra day or two left over every month slowly add up to an entire extra cycle; or a month with two full moons. This second full moon is known as a blue moon. It doesn?t happen very often. In fact, the last time we had a blue moon was in July 2004. But here it is, blue moon month again. Our regular full moon landed on June first, making the one on June 30th a blue moon. Which is pretty special, though not as special as 2018 when there will be TWO blue moons in one year!

There are lots of people who garden by the moon?s cycles. Which isn?t as loony as it sounds. During a full moon the sap will peak its flow and moisture levels in the soil will be at their highest, making this a good time for transplanting. In the wan following the full moon, the moisture in the soil lowers and there is less sap rising in the trees and shrubs, so it?s a good time to do your pruning and attack those weeds. Two full moons means twice the opportunity to weed and plant. Good news for gardeners. Especially this one, who tends to procrastinate just a wee bit. But maybe not so good for police and paramedics.

Scientists have often looked for a correlation between phases of the Moon and reports of weird and violent crimes or births. The logical among us suggest that its all nothing more than a myth. The only reason we think there?s more crimes during a full moon is because we only notice the ones that happen during a full moon. The same way as when you buy a yellow car and suddenly everyone seems to be driving a yellow car.

However, The University of Miami once did a study of murders over a period of 15 years and found that, with barely an exception, the homicide counts rose and fell precisely with the phases of the moon for the entire decade and a half. An earlier report by the American Institute of Medical Climatology found similar results. Psychotically oriented crimes such as murder, arson, dangerous driving and kleptomania all peaked during a full moon.

Lunar links to loony wrongdoing have certainly been recognized for a long time. In eighteenth century England, a murderer was allowed to plead ?lunacy? if the crime was committed during a full moon and would receive a lighter sentence

I have a different theory. I think it?s easier to commit a crime if you can see what you?re doing. How are you going to mug someone if you can?t even see them? A full moon is like the criminal?s giant flashlight.

Still, it?s interesting that the human body, like the earth, is composed of almost 80 percent water. It only makes sense that our inner tides will be affected by the moon, the same way as the ocean?s are. One study showed that 82 percent of postoperative bleeding crises happened during a full moon despite the fact that fewer operations were being performed during that time.

It works the same for trees. In tropical rain forests the trees are always harvested during a waning moon, or as close to a new moon as possible, because that?s when the sap is running at its slowest. If the tree is cut during a full moon, there will be so much sap bleeding that it will attract swarms of deathwatch beetles, which can destroy an entire crop.

None of this explains why maternity wards grow as full as the moon. Unless that too is a water thing. Or simply a yellow car thing. The best news is that this June you have twice as many excuses for feeling loony, which is always reassuring. Now if I could only find an excuse for the rest of the year .. . .

You can visit Shannon online at www.shannonmckinnon.com