In getting ready for this post, I was reminded of the fireballs that would roll down the hills surrounding my grandparents ranch in Northern New Mexico. Very much a topic of conversation in our family. There was speculation that the fireballs were spirits that had decided to stay on this plane and not go onto their rewards. Another thought was that it was gas being expelled from the ground. But whatever the origin of the fireballs, I can attest to seeing them almost every summer of my childhood when I stayed at the ranch. They were an eerie sight. Greenish in the center, orange and yellow on the edges and yes they did roll down the hills. They were about the size of a large dog. I never was any closer than 50 feet of them.
I had a wonderful storyteller in my Uncle Alfonso. He was my favorite because he could turn the ordinary into the extraordinary with his embellishing and embroidery of the spoken word. A rotund and jolly man, he always made time to sit and pass the "family stories" down to us kids. His wife, Tia Maria, would always shake her head, wipe her hands on her apron, and join us as her love told his tales. They were some of the most wonderful people that ever drew breath.
Here's how it goes......my Uncle and his brother JD had attended a dance celebrating the wedding of a neighbor. They had had quite a few drinks and were headed home on horseback slowly. It was a full moon and they were chatting about the pretty girls they had seen at the dance and other nonsense that young men think about when they saw in the distance what looked like a fire. Knowing that no one was holding camp for the sheep this close to the apple orchard, the two turned towards the light and called out. Who goes there? No answer but for their trouble the light came closer and closer until their horses began to complain and try to run away.
It was at this point that JD held his ground and called after Alfonso to not be stupid and a coward and come back, because Uncle Alfonso had let his horse do his thinking for him and they were headed as fast and as quickly as they could.
Uncle Alfonso was waiting for JD back at the main house when his very angry and bleeding brother came riding into the compound like the devil himself was after him. Neither man spoke a word but tied up their horses to the rail and ran like hell into my grandfathers house which was next to the general store.
My grandmother heard the commotion and came out to find her two almost grown sons shaking and hiding in the dark of the kitchen. When she started to turn on the oil lamp, they both pulled her to the ground with them and told her she had better hide because something awful had chased them back to the ranch.
Mame was not having any of this nonsense in her house, turned on the light, put some strong coffee on to boil and gave them the dickens for being such fools. (Sounds better in Spanish). They told her of the lights and how they had been seen it off in the distance and then it began to follow them. JD had fallen off his horse when whatever it was reached out and grabbed the reins to his horse and then it ran right over him. Alfonso couldn't even talk. He was still so scared.
My grandmother said she had to hold them to get them to be quiet and calm. She gave them coffee and comfort and then sent them on to the bunkhouse. She then told my Grandfather who told her not to speak of this to anyone because it would be an embarrassment to the family. But it wasn't too long until he was telling people of the fireballs himself because after that night, the fireballs became a common occurrence on the ranch.
They are only visible in the late summer and only very late at night. There has never been an absolute answer for the occurrence. My Grandfather even had folks from the University come out to study the lights, but when you want them to happen......they never do. No one but the family, as far as I know ever saw the fireballs. Makes you wonder huh?
As for me, I believe what Uncle Alfonso believed and told other stories about. The ranch had spirits of folks who were there long before my Grandfather and his brother took possession of the land in 1855.
The full moon will rise early this week as we begin the season of Autumn. Favorite season for many folks, including the Cuckoos of this Casa. If you've come over from Ye Olde Crone's Gazette, you'll already know that the full moon is very big deal for us. We sing to the moon and have a bit of celebration 13 times a year. We have Lunacakes and the Cuckettes get to pick which kind of lovely beverage we have with our Lunacakes. It has been this way since they were tiny. This month we usually have an apple beverage. Seemed the seasonal thing to partake in. And we've made the most delicious apple infused biscochitos. The original recipe is from my heritage and is an anise spiced shortcake like Mexican yummy. We've added some apple flavor to them and it is a very good marriage of flavors.
There is something so very calming about knowing that you are observing not just a natural occurrence, but a splendorous event in the heavens above. Did you know that the moon does not come up and go down in the same place year after year but rather there is a lunar cycle that is 9 years in one aspect and another 9 years in the other? That means that you can track the moon's dance with the earth if you've got a mere 18 years to do it? She is a very complicated orb and we love that about her.
Not made of cheese....and if there is a man in the moon?????? Well, it is by her bidding only. She rules the night sky and never shows you her same face two nights in a row. How could anyone tire of watching her celestial offerings?????