"Once in a Blue Moon" Opportunity

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Navigate Home   Explore about blue moons (link without)

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The Ship to see whose
Spirit takes "the helm in love"

The Ship's Pro-Log:
Next Once in a Blue Moon Opportunity is an old-style blue moon which will be 99% visible from Sunday, November, 21 - through Monday, November 22, 2010.
More details about what this all entails (with respect to Thanksgiving Day on 11/25 and the Christmas Tree lighting on Sun 11/29) will gradually come to light with the new & waxing moon.

The Ship ~ Navigating the Narrative


Whilst the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry (and more often, stagnate) ~ by design and definition the Cosmos offers both order and continuity. Ergo, the lunar calendar best serves as the timepiece for the Waterside movement ~ woven into the overall motif as motive. And the moon becomes a touchstone throughout history.


As reflected at this link within ~ throughout the generations the spring tides of the full and new moons (link without) remain of particular import to mariners navigating this shallow port at the Mouth of River Merrimack. For planters, the glow of the full moon becomes both boon and blessing. So an additional moon (or two) within a calendar year (link without) was viewed as a gift from the heavens: a "once in a blue moon" opportunity.

When the Waterside was first settled during the old style (Julian) calendar year (from March 25, 1644 to March 24, 1645) ~ its first civic year would conclude a Metonic cycle (link without). A lunar cycle occuring every 19 years, this cycle also coincides with a phenomenon now more commonly and currently known as a "twice in blue moon opportunity"~ when a "blue moon" (two full moons in a month) occurs in the months of January and March (with no full moon in the month of February). Of course, applying the new-style term "blue moon" to this historical account would be an anacrononism ~ a fact fully explored and duly footnoted below.[1]

The turn of the 20th Century also marked the turn of the New Millennium ~ and was a time of great expectations here in the Waterside community and beyond. With further grace, certain knowledge and mere motion.[2] February 1999 proved an opportune timeframe to launch the Waterside movement[3] anew (link within) ~ framed between the Metonic cycle for "twice in a blue moon opportunity" in January and March ...

Subsequent celebrations (and cerebrations) of contemporary 5-year terms for the Waterside people's Plan in Motion were to coincide with blue moons. Consequently, the following milestones in human history (and history in the making) have been charted as "Once in a Blue Moon" opportunities ~ touchstones to reflect where we are, where we have been, and where we are going:

  • (February 4, 1999) - 235th year milestone for the Waterside Third Parish of Newbury's organization as the town of Newburyport
    • the Waterside movement would be launched anew in February, coincidentally between two blue moons in January and March, the 2nd and 31st of both months
    • in prepration and anticipation of "The Year of Coming to Terms" (old style calendar year March 25, 1999 - March 24, 2000)
    • beginning the contemporary 5-Year term of the Waterside Plan in Motion

  • (June 24, 2001) - 150th year milestone for Newburyport's organization as a city form of government, with its present bounds (expanded to include Joppa and Belleville sections).
    • during The Year of Inauguration (March 25, 2001 - March 24, 2002)
    • organize the Sesquicentennial celebration and a "cerebration" to coincide with the 225th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and the New Millennium, to unfold with
    • the completed Master Plan, with its motto Shaping Our Future, Honoring Our Past
    • coordinate both "celebration" and"cerebration" with the school curriculum and if possible,
    • the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities "The Ends of Civilization: Taking Stock on the Eve of the Millennium" reading/discussion program
      • the latter was to conclude mid-November, coincidentally a blue moon month, with the Full Beaver Moon falling on November 30, 2001;
      • a community "orientation" considered, with discourse setting the course to implement the Master Plan and Long Term Elementary Building Needs plan;
      • the motif was to be woven with two fables about the full moon (one original, the other aboriginal) useful as a didactic tool during the Master Plan and City upon a Hill summits.
  • "The Year of Opportunity" (March 25, 2004 - March 24, 2005) - marking 360 years or thirteen generations (of thirty years) since the Waterside's settlement in 1644; 240 years (the ninth generation) since the Waterside Third Parish of Newbury's organization of the separate town of Newburyport in 1764
    • making this the ninth generation of progress for the Waterside people's Plan in Motion
    • also marking the 375th anniversary of the 1629 Massachusetts Bay Charter and
    • coincidentally, the 250th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's visit to the Waterside in 1754 (Can lightning strike twice?) and the 215th year anniversary of George Washington's visit to Newburyport in October 1789
    • and with the blue moon on July 31st coinciding with the opening day of Yankee Homecoming in 2004 (a full generation after Yankee Homecoming's "Newburyport in Renaissance" in 1974)
      • a Once in a Blue Moon opportunity event was held in a Motion of Comity with Yankee Homecoming 2004 ~ a community gathering to gather momentum for moons to come. Ending one five-year term and beginning the next for a new generation ~ the afternoon gam and gambit and gambol with Lord Timothy Dexter preceded the sweet sounds of music on the Waterfront beginning at 7:30PM and the First Annual Yankee Homecoming Lighted Boat Parade which commenced at 8:30 eventide, just as the Blue Moon rose over the Merrimack River (see link within).

The current five-year term for the Waterside Plan in Motion began with the new-style blue moon of July 31, 2004 ~ and will culminate with a "Once in a Blue Moon" opportunity on New Year's Eve 2009. During this term, both both old-style and new-style blue moons are as follows:

  • July 31, 2004 (new-style tradition, being the second full moon in month) ~ beginning the first 5-year term of the Plan in Motion for a new generation of the Waterside people (link within);
  • August 19, 2005 (old-style tradition, being the third full moon in a season of four full moons);
  • May 31, 2007 EDT (new-style tradition, being the second full moon in month) ~ a mid-point benchmark/orientation in the 5-year term (link within);
  • May 20-21, 2008 (old-style tradition, being the third full moon in a season of four full moons);
  • December 31, 2009 (new-style tradition, being the second full moon in month) ~
    • a Once in a Blue Moon opportunity which coincides with the Gregorian (new style calendar) New Year's Eve will end a 5-year term and begin the next (link within).

Every ending is a beginning. Thus and so, it follows...

  • During "the Newburys" 375th milestone year in 2010 ~ we shall behold the traditional old-style blue moon (third full moon in a season of four moons) on November 21 - 22, 2010
    • an (imminent) milestone to anticipate which falls the Sunday and Monday during the week of Thanksgiving (Thankgiving Day celebrated Thursday, November 25).
  • A new-style blue moon will occur on August 31, 2012 ~ and the following year, the Full Sturgeon (August) Moon that shines on August 21, 2013 will be an old-style blue moon (the third full moon in a season with four moons).
  • A new-style blue moon will be remarked on July 31, 2015, once again coinciding with Newburyport's Yankee Homecoming festival.
  • The following calendar year, an old-style blue moon will occur on May 21, 2016.
  • And remarkably, the year 2018 will mark a "twice in a blue moon" opportunity ~ with new-style blue moons in the months of January and March ~
    • ending the 19-year Metonic cycle which began in 1999 with the launch of the Waterside movement anew ~ and beginning another Metonic cycle which will end in 2037.
  • To follow, we shall behold an old-style astronomical blue moon (the third blue moon in a season with four moons) on May 18, 2019.
  • In the year 2020 a new-style blue moon falls on October 31, which (for those who follow the old ways) is the old Celtic calendar new year.

And so on ...


[1] In hindsight, foresight, insight and "soul-sight" ~ let us become yet more enlightened about "blue moons" with review of an article published by the Newburyport (then Merrimack River) Current on November 5, 2004. The piece entitled "Moon walking" (archived at this link within) ~ based upon an interview with Comity ~ mentions the terms in context to the Waterside movement (and the "once in a blue moon" opportunity remarked the prior summer). Footnoted annotations take the subject a step further ~ making a distinction about the definitions of the old-style and new-style traditions of "blue moon" ~ and the rationale for adopting the "new style" and "old style" definitions of these terms when launching the Waterside movement anew in 1999.

[2] These three are phrases from the 1629 Massachusetts Bay Charter that (in part) impart the logo, the motto or identifying statement for the organic movement of the Waterside. Adopted as the complimentary closing above the signature line when forwarding communications, "Motion of Comity" is a actually ply of two terms:

"Motion" is adopted from the clause "further Grace, certen Knowledg and meere Motion" that opens the passage in the 1629 Massachusetts Bay Charter which ascribes the planters a voice in local government through town meeting and representative self-governance in the "state-level" General Court --- including the "naming and setting of all sorts of Officers … needful for that Government and Plantation, and the distinguishing and setting forth of the several duties, Powers, and limits of every such Office and Place … for the directing, ruling, and disposing of all other Matters and Things, whereby our said People, Inhabitants there, may be so religiously, peaceably, and civilly governed, (in) their good Life and orderly Conversation ..."

"Comity" is inspired by the provincial spelling of the word "committee" in the early 18th century records of the Waterside Third Parish of Newbury --- and the "comity" to "enable community" and replace the "disquietude" of partisanship, as memorialized in the petition to establish the Waterside Third Parish of Newbury as the separate town of Newburyport in 1764.

[3] Emerson said that there are always two parties: the establishment and the movement. In the beginning, the Waterside people were ahead of the wave --- merging both influences and emerging with a Plan in Motion that was progressive yet practical. While from time to time, the Waterside people have suffered what Lord Timothy Dexter would term Life's "hie tides and loue tides"--- it is "hie tide fer a see change." The Ship is Ready and the peradventure begins. {Wonder of Wonder! Whose Spirit takes the helm in love?}

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