This week, the moon appeared high in the dining room window. It was not a full moon, but in the clear sky, it glowed with charm. I pulled everyone from the table and we went to the porch for a better look. The five of us sat quietly on the front steps -- my daughters, granddaughters and I -- and celebrated it's beauty. We thought about my son-in-law under that same moon on the other side of the world. Younger daughter sang a short moon song for the little ones and, suddenly, I thought of my moon viewing experience while in Japan.
I decided to make this a special occasion. I returned inside to prepare an impromptu treat. I didn't have a pampas grass arrangement on the table or sweet bean dumplings like my Japanese hostess, Mrs. Kimura, but I did have some very special dishes and I scooped tiny ice cream balls to mimic the dumplings. I placed the tiny dishes and the large plate of moon-colored balls in the freezer and returned to the porch. Soon the night grew chilly and we said, "Good night, moon." I retrieved the cold treats and explained the significance of the moon shape and grass patterns on the gray glaze which had been created in one of the oldest pottery areas in Japan. Older daughter contributed some very thin Moravian ginger cookies which we learned to love while living near Old Salem, NC. I think I'll try to plan ahead next year for the October Harvest Moon, but this was a pretty neat party.
Will the little ones remember a celebration of the moon at their grandmother's house? Will it be one of those experiences which pops up as an unexpected memory like this one for me? Will it become part of who they are? Will they watch the moon and think of tiny scoops of ice cream served with tiny spoons and wonder why? Will they learn to just celebrate beauty?
A Note: During my years of participating in Sister City exchanges with Takarazuka, Japan, I had many unique experiences. Generally, I traveled alone with an exhibition which I helped uncrate and install. Each day during the exhibition, I was hosted by some wonderful people and given the assistance of an interpreter and sometimes a driver. At some point, the official schedules shifted as old friends began to request my time for a particular day, a special meal, or just to visit in their homes. So, I was invited to go their favorite temple or shrine in the mountains, to visit shopping districts, local craftsmen and museums, to share seasonal meals and family celebrations.
At the end of each visit, there was an official gift which the mayor of the city presented to me. On my last trip, he suggested that I select my own! I was a little stunned. I would be accompanied on this shopping trip by a couple of city of officials. I asked if there was a budget. It was a challenge -- perhaps a test! My choice must fit the budget, be an appropriate official gift, indicate that I had learned something about the culture and . . . be something I liked. As I opened my special dishes, the mayor was the only one who was surprised. He approved.