ON MONDAY there will be a rare celestial event: the second new moon of the month. It makes me think of the blue moon -- the second full moon of a month -- that appeared around this time last year.
It was then that I fell in love for the second time in 30 years. I let my scarred heart be scooped up by a lovely, brown-eyed girl of grace and charm, just like in the old song.
At the start of our relationship, she told me something I didn't know: "Once in a blue moon, two people fall in love," she said.
Having been married for 26 years, then separated and divorced, it had taken me years to get over the first great love of my life and start dating again.
"I like you as a friend, you were a great father and a sensual lover," my wife had said. "But I just don't love you anymore."
Take a deep breath, try to put one foot in front of the other and move on. It's easier said than done, especially right after your silver wedding anniversary.
At age 50, I started dating again and felt like a fool. No singles clubs, no personal ads, though I considered both. I just figured I'd find somebody and perhaps be happy again. Eventually I did meet someone who helped get me through what the counselors call "the transition period."
Then, a year ago, I met and instantly fell in love with my brown-eyed girl. Black hair and dark skin, she was like the moon -- mysterious, illuminating the dark of night.
A friend said: "Todd, you are not in love, but you love being in love."
It was true. I love being in love -- learning to surrender myself to someone else.
My brown-eyed girl spoke of the blue moon, the stars and of all things celestial. We looked up into the sky that winter of ice and crystal palaces and saw Orion's belt and the moon so crystal clear.
She added color to the house -- tablecloths, flowers, cloth napkins -- and a little-girl innocence and fun. I had thought I would never feel that way again.
We ran from the porch naked and made angels in the snow. We laughed as we fell in love, laughter so soft it could float beneath the ocean waves and still be heard above the beating of two hearts together. I began to feel bewitched by the blue moon's beguiling spell.
Then fear crept into my thoughts, though all the while my heart belonged to her. Friends cautioned: "Beware, friend, your love is blind."
Could they see things I could not? I defended her, wangled invitations, struggled with my overwhelming love for this brown-eyed woman-child who made me feel vital and whole again.
But later I saw that I didn't mean as much to her as she did to Soon it became apparent that we felt differently about raising a family. The same fear I felt when my wife said goodbye came over me once again.
She said it would be better if we socialized in groups, like dinner parties, rather than be alone together. But she still kept the key to my house.
I wanted to fix the relationship, make the fear go away. But things weren't right. I asked her to move out twice; the last time, she didn't come back.
Now I think of her every day. I miss her, madly.
Why is it that what once came so easily is now so difficult and scary?
Yes, I love being in love, but I don't love the pain that accompanies it. Still, the love was worth it; the learning was worth it, too.
Awake at night, with the room glowing in moonlight, I am alone. Soothe me, Moon, soothe the wounds.
I think of the poetry I wrote for her and the cards she sent me. I think of how love flowed from me in word, thought, desire. Then I remember how distant she became. And I recall the real meaning of of the phrase "once in a blue moon": it means "never."
Todd Holden is a Harford County writer and farmer.