Once in a blue moon

Olu Taiwo, patient at Salisbury District Hospital, reflects on the passage of time with his contribution to Issue 2 of our monthly publication ‘Elevate your mood’.

I have been pondering lately on our experience of duration and the passage of time; how these experiences are affected by our emotional engagement in an activity and our general sense of wellbeing. ArtCare and Elevate deliver a crucial service that enriches our quality of waiting and being patient, by putting on quality arts events that engage us in and around the hospital wards.

When we observe the passage of time via a clock, although this type of observation is efficient for coordinating disparate activities, this type of observation can alienate us from a more physically intuitive relationship with the passage of duration, like;

  • The circadian rhythms that influence our work during the day and how we sleep at night
  • The different phases of the moon in a solar cycle, drawing our attention to the migratory patterns of birds like swifts who journey to and from Africa
  • Seeding crops at Spring and harvesting them in the Autumn.
  • The processes animals patiently perform while preparing for hibernation

This is where we are now, in October, as secret squirrels stockpile their acorns. One thing is certain; nature is patient. The definition of being patient, as an adjective, is our ability for bearing pains and trials, peacefully or without objection, enduring the experience of our trials over the passage of time. The definition of patient, as a noun, is an individual waiting for or is under medical treatment and care. Both of these definition assume an important role for us as a patient; which is, how we manage our experience of waiting and how we emotionally experience the quality of the moment. By observing natural markers of duration like the phases of the moon, we can begin to enjoy the dance of nature throughout the year and how connected we are with it.
patient on dialysis reading Elevate your mood

There are two full moons in October: on the 1st and 31st. On the 1st of October 2020, we will see the ‘Harvest moon’, which is the full moon closest to the Autumn equinox. The expression the ‘Harvest moon’ refers to the importance of a full, bright moon closest to the start of Autumn, where, from the time before electricity, farmers depended on the moon’s light to harvest crops late into the night. On the 31st of October 2020, we will see the ‘Blue moon’, a name given to the second of two full moons in a single calendar month. It also refers to an older definition where it is the third of four full moons in a single season.

Because of the peculiarity of lunar orbits, ‘Blue moons’ are rare, prompting the phrase ‘Once in a blue moon’. I would like to express my gratitude to ArtCare and Elevate for making sure that while being a patient at Salisbury Hospital, we do not experience quality art that raises our spirits ‘once in a blue moon’; instead, we get to experience art at virtually every corner and we are inspired by that quality.

Send us your contribution

We love to include some of your own reflections in future posts and in our print edition ‘Elevate your mood’. Why not write a few lines, try a poem or send us picture on the general theme of winter traditions? Email to ArtCare or send to ArtCare, Block 29, Salisbury District Hospital, Salisbury SP2 8BJ.