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Monday, May 7, 2012

Picnics, Lunacy and other things...

When I was younger the full moon always woke me up, it had a lot to do with the fact that I didn’t have any curtains and lived in the country so the moon just shone right in through my window. But I liked to think that the moon wanted me awake. Once I was awake there was no getting back to sleep so I would often go for full moon strolls. I loved the way the world looked in the moonlight, all monochromatic and dusky. Those moonlit walks were a perfect thing in and of themselves. I felt peaceful and lucid. I did some of my best thinking in the small hours after the full moon rose and before it set.

The moon has factored strongly in my life, for starters we often went fishing and surfing so it was important to know where the tide was sitting and when the super high tides would be. My mum is an avid gardener and my dad was a tree nurseryman so the moon also factored in our planting and growing. We had a lunar gardening calendar up every year and did all of our major gardening by it. More recently after having manipulated my fertility for many years with hormones I discovered upon going hormone free that my menses synced up with the full moon like clockwork. I was interested to read the research of Barbara Kingsolver which indicated there is a link between being outdoors a lot (especially at night)and having your cycles move with the moon cycles. The theory was that the extra moonlight somehow stimulated your pineal gland, much like the reef fish.

Last night was the moon’s perigee, which means that at full moon the lunar path was closer to the earth than normal. To loonies like me this means a more powerful full moon effect. Online there was a little anticipation with some doulas commenting on membranes that were rupturing earlier than expected and births moving forwards to meet the full moon. The scientific world are a little divided on the topic of full moons affecting birth rates with studies coming up on both sides of the fence. More in depth studies have uncovered a link with increased in birth rates in the last quarter of the lunar cycle which coincides with the full moon. To many experienced midwives the effect is undisputable; however it may be a little unfortunate that increasingly the obstetrician's golf game may have more of an impact on birth rates. Lunar cycles have been linked to fertility in a number of aspects from sperm motility to ovulation cycles to spontaneous miscarriages.  Ancient traditions in many cultures recognized this lunar affect and many fertility rites and traditions were celebrated in time with the full moon

Perhaps more interestingly a spectrum of anecdotal evidence indicates that mental states may be affected by the full moon. Every full moon I hear people curmudgeoning about the crazies coming out of the woodwork and within my parenting groups I hear a universal groan from my mama friends about how moody and anxious they are with the build up to the full moon. My husband who works in complaints says that undoubtedly he witnesses an increased volume of cases being processed in the last quarter and a general increase in spurious nature of complaints. But these claims aren’t just the premise of urban myths and old wives tales, studies have shown that schizophrenics are affected by the moon and there is an increased incidence of seizures and admissions due to mental health in the last quarter . In fact the term lunacy springs from the word lunar so it is no surprise that people feel a little loony during a full moon.

Nowadays, every full moon I anticipate with a bit of hesitancy, I love the full moon but I don’t love its effects on my children! It took me almost a year to figure out why my first son would have incredibly restless nights where he would be alert and not at all sleepy! Then someone finally pointed out to me that the full moon can have an effect on sleep patterns and looking back it all clicked. So now when the full moon is coming I have made a habit of going to bed with my clothes on in preparation for a big night.

Last night with the Samhain perigee, I found myself going for walk at 1am with my youngest in the wrap looking around in awe at the moonlit night.  He finally fell asleep after 40 minutes of walking and I spent the rest of the night bouncing on my swiss ball to keep him settled while I had a little cloquality time with my pinterest account. I finally managed to get him to bed and myself almost to sleep at 3am when I heard the stealthy thumps of a nearly four year old climbing out of bed and thunderfooting down the hallway. In a breathy whisper he shouts ‘MUM, I GOT MY SLIPPERS ON, LETS PLAY LEGO’  - an elbow to my prone husband elicited a sleepy mumble and then the lego monster was escorted back to bed for a little more sleep and a big cuddle. That was the first of a series of wakeups in the early morn and it wasn’t until 6am that we got any real sleep. My husband bless him got up and let me sleep until a grand old 8am. Ooh exciting! 2 hrs! In the morning my husbands facebook status made me laugh. "Anyone who says the moon does not affect behaviour can go jump in the loch - kids took shifts getting up and baying..."

Next full moon I am going to embrace fully, when I was younger, every so often as a special treat we would have a midnight picnic. So instead of feeling resentful and annoyed when early wakings keep me from my precious sleep I am going to live the moment and create a few special memories. I used to love watching the hedgehogs and listening to the ruru or the swamp bittern while we enjoyed hot chocolate by the glow of paperbag lanterns. Midnight picnics involved singing, telling stories and eating delicious treats. They were truly magical moments

So I already have it all planned , I have made these fabulous upcycled tin can lanterns and have the picnic bag packed ready to go with a thermos which I’ll put this delicious drink in, some tasty healthy treats, a picnic blanket, some glowstick lanterns, shadow puppets and night time fairy bubble mixture. Those hours on pinterest weren’t such a waste of time after all. Lunacy has got something going for it!!

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