What in the Moon is Going on Here?

Was it just the Mountain Farmgirl, or was there something in the air last week that made everybody just a little bit, ‘over-the-top’ CRANKY?! Did you notice it, too? Do you think that the moon had anything to do with normally nice people becoming stark, raving lunatics? Join the Mountain Farmgirl as she waxes poetic (pun intended) in “What in the Moon is Going on Here?” …
I’m normally a pretty calm person, or so I have been told. I usually have a calming effect on those around me … but last week? Holy Smokes!! What in the world was going on?! People were just shy of howling at the moon, and as an alternative, they all decided to howl at ME!!

The only answer I can come up with is that this isn’t a ‘what IN the world’ type of question  … it has to have been related to something “out there”, in space. I’ve decided it must have been the moon. And not just ANY moon, mind you … it was the convergence of the Full Moon, the Summer Solstice and the “Super Moon” … a term, to resurrect an old earth science word from my memory banks, describing ‘perigee’ (meaning that the moon is closer than usual to the earth). Put all those things together on approximately the same day and it was a recipe for some rather bizarre and unsettled behavior for a lot of people. I wasn’t the only one to notice.

Even my daughter Alida called me last night to talk about it. She is an artist who lives in Portland, Maine, where she is the manager of the Dobra Tea shop, a fantastically mellow place with an artsy atmosphere. Normally the setting is very “chill”, to use her term, and people come in to read, talk and hang out in a very multi-cultural setting. It is ordinarily an awesomely meditative and tranquil place. I’ll step out on a limb here to make a broad, general stereotype that is probably not very true (Oh boy, I’m in for it now!): “Tea People” tend to be kind, pleasant souls who    are generally not as wired and frenzied as “Coffee People”. Except in the past week, that is, when she had some customers who were real lulus! “Off the wall”, “Crazy”, “Unreasonable” and “So Hyper!” were some of the descriptive words she used to tell me about a few of the more unpleasant, totally uncharacteristic  situations she had to deal with there.
Pretty mellow, right? Who wouldn’t be relaxed here?!
I could relate to everything she was saying, and more. Our inn is also a very calming place. I love to watch people check in on a Friday night, rather frazzled from a long week of work, having packed their bags on the fly and then having to deal with weekend traffic to get a short vacation in the mountains. They are sometimes pretty rattled when they arrive, but I watch the tensions of life melt away as they spend a few days with us, enjoying the cool mountain air, the sparkling river out back, and the mountain hospitality we try so hard to provide. That’s what we do here; people mistakenly think that innkeepers rent beds, but the truth is, the service we provide tries to make the world a little better and a little kinder, one guest at a time. In turn, this has a rippling effect, and is very rewarding for us personally. Of course, people are people, and when dealing with the public there will always be a small percentage who will only cause trouble and try to make your life miserable if you let them. Fortunately these sorts of folks are rare here; but they do exist and cross our paths once in a while. The thing to keep in mind is that they’re the kind who would find fault with the Queen Mary or with Buckingham Palace if they stayed there, and you can’t let those sorts of unhappy people get to you.   
“Too many clouds”… “Too much pollen”… Some people can find fault with anything!

Those sorts aside, there will be other problems that arise, too, from time to time, some legitimate, some not. Either way, as innkeepers we have to smile through it all and try to solve them to everyone’s satisfaction. It comes with the territory. There will always be difficult people no matter where you are, but fortunately, our clientele are the nicest, friendliest people I have ever met. We get loads of return guests who are more like friends than paying customers. Trip Advisor rates us the #1 small hotel in Jackson NH because we get great reviews, and problems are few and far between.


Until early last week, on what I call “Moonday” …  and Holy Crow … I wanted to put on a suit of armor to ward off the fiery darts! It was rampant all around me … callers on the phone looking for reservations were short with my staff; people checking in were strangely cranky and found fault with things that really were not any sort of  a real  problem. Emails came in that were negative and whiny. There were 8-10 unpleasant things to deal with each day all week. Under normal circumstances we might get a negative situation to deal with once a month, and with a 32-room inn with a fairly high occupancy, these are pretty good odds.   
“Protect me from the fiery darts of human unkindness …”
Apparently, we were not alone, which is probably what prompted my husband and I to be invited to join a bunch of fellow innkeepers at a local pub a few nights ago. Everyone was experiencing the same thing and they wanted to commiserate and try to ‘get happy’! So strange, isn’t it? Can the moon really have such a strong effect on people’s moods?
My mother used to think so when she taught students in Fourth Grade. Once in a while she would notice that the kids were totally “off the wall” and she would nearly always realize afterwards that there had been a full moon that seemed to explained it.
But is there a scientific explanation of what is actually going on here or is this just urban legend? Greek philosopher Aristotle and Roman historian Pliny the Elder suggested that the brain was the “moistest” organ in the body and thereby most susceptible to the pernicious influences of the moon, which triggers the tides. They believed that the moon caused nocturnal dew and this somehow made the brain moist and rather unstable. Obviously these otherwise smart guys were pretty off-base in their thinking here, but this belief persisted through the Middle Ages, when it was thought that humans could transform into werewolves or vampires during a full moon. 


The very word “Lunatic” derives from the Roman Goddess of the Moon named Luna. One definition of lunacy is "intermittent insanity once believed to be related to phases of the moon".   The belief is still common today. One survey in the US found that about 40 per cent of the general population, and 80 per cent of mental health professionals, believe that the phase of the Moon affects human behavior. And yet 99% of scientific evidence is against this conclusion. The notion persists, however, and with good reason I might add. Last week during this ‘moon thing’ that was going on, my life was literally crazed. My ‘radar’ was on High Alert because people were acting emotional and irrational, and being very unpleasant. My husband comes from a family of scientists; my side is more intuitive, but by everyone’s experience that I know of last week, I believe that the evidence is stacked in my favor: the werewolves were out in force. From the multitude of examples I could give you (along with so many others I’ve spoken with who had similar experiences, I believe my evidence outweighs those scientists. I will say with perfect confidence, “Last week LUNAcy reigned supreme”!
What about it, Farmgirls? Did the moon affect anything in YOUR world?
Until next time,
Mountain Bounty, Mountain Blessings from Cathi,
The Mountain Farmgirl



By: debra esposito
On: 07/07/2013 19:07:28
As a nurse who works nights in a small town hospital, I can really attest to the effect the moon has on people! I was so glad that I was on vacation for the last full moon phenomena. There were 10 admission on that night-unheard of for our small unit! Even without looking at the calendar I can tell when full moon is approaching just by the way people/patients are acting, or acting out!
By: Joan
On: 07/08/2013 08:03:44
Oh Cathi so sorry for the woes, I personally didn't have a bother with the big beautiful moon but I know others that was in the same situation as yourself. So sad that such a beautiful creation of God is to blame for mans uglinesses. Oh yes a few days in your lovely inn would help cure so many woes. Hope all is better now.
God Bless
By: Amanda
On: 07/18/2013 16:42:08
Hi Cathi! So sorry to hear about your aggrivating ordeal! I can totally empathize with you. I used to work at a garden center and people could just not be more unplesant at certain times. I even dealt with a customer who made me climb up and down a ladder because she wanted to "see a little closer" a bunch of the windchimes we had hanging. Not too big of a deal, except that I was over 7 months pregnant! She couldn't make up her mind and ended up buying none of them. AARRGGG!!!! So it goes! God bless you for staying calm and composed through it all!
By: Caroline Frazier
On: 07/21/2013 08:25:19
That is so Awesome that you can be who you are thank God for that I wish I could of done that but where I was raised was not really like the best in the world but I do see myself to be like a farm girl in heart, go lucky kind of gal. Free spirit person and may God Bless you Always you inspire me so. Sincerely: Caroline Frazier, Amen.
By: Leslie Thornton
On: 08/13/2013 09:54:48
Cathi, your article - it so got my attention! You used all the right adjectives, i.e. crazy, cranky, convoluted... it was like the most exciting short - short story Ive ever read. It was the best (award winning) mini - mini series I've ever seen (VISUALIZED EVERYTHING as you described it! My husband, Obi (our black lab) and I live in a Glamper... in the middle of "nowhere but someplace special to us GA" In the woods, deep in the woods. VERY few people out here and I have to say......aside from the strangely beautiful sunsets and moonlit nights that week - we had nothing! Not even a howling coyote. I almost wish I had a story to tell after reading yours. I believe what YOU are saying but all I can say is I LOVED YOUR BLOG & thanks for sharing it!

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Cathi Belcher

Cathi Belcher,
an old-fashioned farmgirl with a pioneer spirit, lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a “lifelong learner” in the “Live-Free-or-Die” state, she fiercely values self-reliance, independence, freedom, and fresh mountain air. Married to her childhood sweetheart of 40+ years (a few of them “uphill climbs”), she’s had plenty of time to reinvent herself. From museum curator, restaurant owner, homeschool mom/conference speaker, to post-and-beam house builder and entrepreneur, she’s also a multi-media artist, with an obsession for off-grid living and alternative housing. Cathi owns and operates a 32-room mountain lodge. Her specialty has evolved to include “hermit hospitality” at her rustic cabin in the mountains, where she offers weekend workshops of special interest to women.

“Mountains speak to my soul, and farming is an important part of my heritage. I want to pass on my love of these things to others through my writing. Living in the mountains has its own particular challenges, but I delight in turning them into opportunities from which we can all learn and grow.”

Column content copyright © 2010– Cathi Belcher. All rights reserved.

Mountain Bounty

“Keep close to Nature’s heart ... and break clear away once in awhile to climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods, to wash your spirit clean.”
– John Muir