Listen to the Moon

I was driving home last night from meeting a friend for dinner and saw the most marvelous orange full moon. It was a redhead in all her glory, slowly rising above the horizon.

My first reaction (after amazement) was a little sadness, for I always want to see the rising moon from the far end of my property. There’s a cornfield on the other side of the back back back gate, which makes the horizon long and flat and dark.

There’s something about a full orange moon that fills me with magic. I become young again. I want to play, I want to do magic, I want to write magic. I want to see faeries in the woods and elves walking along the paths.

My imagination soars when I’m outside with the Lady of the Night.

Yet I missed this one — one I could have easily have watched from the very beginning. But I was out to dinner with a friend.

A friend who has just beaten cancer. Again. She has done chemo and is now going through radiation.

A friend that is full of life, of hope. I love her stories…she has so many of them. After what she’s been through, she is a gift from above. She has children and grandchildren that adore her, a husband that supports her, and everyone she meets becomes a friend of support through this bad time.

Maybe that’s what the moon was telling me last night.

Maybe it glowed with the magic of friendship. Maybe it glowed with pride in my thinking about someone else besides myself. Maybe She knew that if I hadn’t taken my friend to dinner I’d be zoning out on TV or some other wasteful pastime.

What’s the big deal about taking someone out to dinner? An hour and half, twenty-five dollars later. It’s an hour and a half out of your busy, busy, oh-so-important schedule.

Yet it is an hour and a half of strength. Of love. Of friendship.

Two people, both having suffered from the horrid demon C, eating soup and chowing down burgers, laughing about work and boasting about our grandkids and our kids and how lucky we are to be alive. We planned for tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

That’s what you do with friends.

One night go out and gaze upon a full moon. Listen to what it’s saying to you. You will  understand what She is saying. Your soul will be better for it.

The TRUTH Behind Cats and the Strawberry Moon

hdAlright. Now that the Strawberry Moon thing is over, I can tell you the real story of my last blog.

You see, I was walking down the tractor trail along this huge, long cornfield. It happened that sunset and moonrise were at the same time that night, and with MR — I mean Mercury Retrograde (I can say it now) in full swing, I was prepared for anything.

Or so I thought.

As the huge moon crested over a barn in the far distance (a real Kodak moment), I started to hear strange sounds from the center of the cornfield. Now, mind you, the corn is really only stubble; 4-5 inches max. So I should have noticed something strange down the row from the get-go. But you know me — into the Goddess “thing” and blah blah blah-ing to the moon about writing and getting published and all that, I just didn’t notice.

I didn’t notice a gathering of moving things dancing in a circle.

Now, you know me. I’m more pretzel than logic, and my creativity takes me to places I’ve never been before. But I was standing on a dirt road all by myself a quarter mile from home, so I instantly switched to my logic gear (also known as survival mode).

I stood very still, trying to figure out what the commotion was. If it was a band of gypsies or satan worshipers, I was gonna take off faster than Dale Earnhardt. But the “gathering” wasn’t tall at all. Not like human beings. Not even tall enough to be kids.

No — the noise was coming from something no bigger than a cat.

Wolves, I thought. Coyotes. Eating, devouring their prey. Howling and growling and sacrificing to the Strawberry Moon. I felt adrenelin flush my whole body. Yet I had to know. Curiosity was suddenly my deadly companion. So C and I tip-toed closer to the group making all the noise.

All I could hear was, “Mrrrro brrrreeerrr Mrrrrro! Mrrrrro breeerrrr Mrrrro!” Over and over. Chanting. A mantra. Surely they were calling up the spirits of the Strawberry! I would be a gonner if I wandered any closer. But, you know me. I couldn’t resist.

Louder and louder they chanted. The moon kept rising, bigger, fuller, flushed with red, not unlike the Strawberry it was named after. The cold wind blew around me, bringing goosebumps to my under-dressed body. But the chanting got louder and louder.

What in the #($*#@ was going on?

Suddenly the chanting reached its pinnacle, and all in one voice they screamed, “MRRRRO BEEERRRRZZZ MRRRROOOOO!” The moon shook, the wind swirled in a final tornado, and suddenly 7 or 8 cats ran off into the night!

They had been dancing around something half buried between two corn stubs. I was terrified. But I had wandered this far — what could it have been?? Stumbling over the last few rows of corn, smashing a stalk or two (sorry, farmer John), I saw what the commotion had been about.

Half buried in the dirt was a little dark blue football, a big orange “C” facing the Strawberry Moon that now had turned orangy itself. And I knew.

Go Bears Go.

The Chicago Bears needed all the help they could get…

(I told you there was a story there somewhere….)

What Is True Success?

So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we  had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.

Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too.  Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.

This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb.  I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in  my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.

That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture.  Yet more often I think  I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.

How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator;  good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.

Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short  story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely.  I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers.  I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the  result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off  the main character.

There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.

So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.

I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world…  humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com.

There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.

Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…

Claudia Anderson

Moonrise At Sunset

The crispness of the evening crackled around me as I sat on the rustic bench at the edge of the harvested cornfield.  I was on a mission; I was determined to watch the moon rise over the horizon. I had toddled down the path through the woods behind my house, laptop in hand, hoodie tied tight around my head.  There was rustling about — shuffling and shifting somewhere in the distance as creatures large and small began to find shelter for the night.  I sat quietly, laptop on my legs, waiting for the crest of the moon’s edge to peek over the farthest boundary line of earth.

There was more shuffling through the skeletal bushes as the shadows grew around me.  I pushed away flashes of monsters and rabid raccoons and embraced the thought of it being a bird or squirrel.  Little, gentle things. My query was soon answered in the form of a large black bird that appeared on the branch of the tree in front of me.  Her beady eyes blinked at me, her head tilted slightly. “What in the world are you doing here so late?  Go home! It will be a cold one tonight!” she scolded. I agreed with the bird, watching her shimmy and shake before disappearing into the woods.  She was no fool; it was indeed getting chilly.

My fingertips began to numb as my eyes kept watch through the barbed wire fence, across the harvested cornfield, past the ridge of trees and farms to the horizon in the distance. As the evening sky turned from lavender ribbons to purple shadows, thoughts of previous generations ran through me. Who knows what our ancestors thought when they looked up at the night time sky? I knew that the Andromeda Galaxy glowed in one of the legs of the W of Cassiopeia, and the right side of the cup of the Little Dipper pointed upwards to the North Star.  But the locals had taken their own spin on astronomy, leaving me wondering about my long-held beliefs.  Does Apollo ride his steeds through the Wisconsin sky just as he did in Greece?  Is the constellation Orion actually the outline of a football player getting ready to throw a pass?  Does the pointer star really always point towards a tavern?

The crow returned, landing very near on the post beside me.  She wondered what I was still doing there.  I was an alien here.  That, and I probably smelled like garlic from my spaghetti dinner.  I tried sitting very still, but the bird had never seen a wild woman hanging around on this bench at this hour, and squawked that fact to anyone who would listen.  Finally, after making her point, she took off in a huff. Point taken.  Yet this stranger in a hoodie still hung around. Sunset gave way to darkness, moonrise only minutes away. Anticipation grew inside of me.

Where was the full round beauty that taunted mere mortals with her presence?  Where was the crest of her silver hair above the horizon?   She was the goddess of the night, the seductress in the midnight blue wrap.  Her dark cape sparkled with distant flecks of existence; yet in her full glory there was no star that could match her brilliance. How silent these woods had suddenly become.  I sat in vigilant dedication, my shivering the only noticeable movement.   I could not see my fingers, my letters, my writing.  A subtle numbness started to creep down from the tips of my gloves, yet still I waited.  Darkness had covered the wilderness, forcing me to pay closer attention to everything around me.

Suddenly, a loud crash and shuffling came from my left.  Bigfoot!  Hodag!  Tyrannosaurus Rex!  But, no! Too light-footed!  It had to be a deer crashing through the bramble.  The hoofed steps stopped on the path, listening.  All was silent. We both held our breaths, she in the woods, I on the bench.  My heart exploded, leaving me wanting to turn around just for a peek. Turn! Just turn! But I couldn’t. Wouldn’t. What a dip! The moment stretched into an eternity, until finally the doe walked the other way, crunching the leaves in her wake.  She must have been making her way to the cornfield, circling away from the soft glow of the computer screen and the odd scent of garlic. I can’t say that I blamed her.

Finally the moment had come.  The first pinpoint of light in the distance — She appeared!  But gasp upon gasps!  What was this?  Her crown was not the color of ghosts or spider webs — the Lady’s mane was red!  My Goddess of the Night was a crimson-haired tart!   Full and round, she rose majestically through the black distance, the world stopping for a moment to honor her presence.  Her red mane radiated over the valley and poured across the landscape, Her round orb was breathtaking! Sassy!  The Moon Goddess watched over that magical night with the grace of a queen with her crown of rubies.  She was beautiful in her new outfit — proof that women could change their appearance whenever they wished.  They could be feminine and pure and complex and naughty with merely a change of color — or thought.  It was the delight of being female, the magic of the power within.

Eventually I closed my laptop, extinguishing the last remains of my human presence.  Her aura slowly turned back to haunting white, glowing enough to light my path back home. I promised to come visit again, not only when she was at her fullest, but also when she was merely a slice rising in the distant dark sky,

And in return, I heard her say that she’d come to my house for garlic spaghetti any time.