I saw a blue moon this past August in Sturgeon Bay where my wife and son and I had escaped for a long weekend with my in-laws. It was a highlight in a year with few of them, sitting with family in camp chairs around a fire with a cooler of Wisconsin-brewed craft beer. I was familiar with the saying “once in a blue moon,” but only recently learned that a blue moon is the third full moon in a season with four full moons rather than the usual three.A “seasonal” blue moon appears just once every three years or so. I also discovered that the annual full moon in August is called the Sturgeon Moon. I like these kinds of synchronicities, and I hope you’ll bear with me.
As most readers will know, this space in the magazine has for the past 13 years been the place where one would find editor Jason A. Smith’s musings on the current issue of the magazine and his thoughtful observations on the culture and state of our state. As it happened, I first met Jason about five years ago, believe it or not, at the Blue Moon Bar and Grill, a few blocks down from the Academy offices. I’d recently moved back home to Wisconsin after a good many years below the Mason-Dixon line, what an acquaintance down there referred to when I left as my “sojourn in the South.”
After moving back, I happened upon a copy of Wisconsin People & Ideas, which served as my introduction to the Wisconsin Academy and to Jason. We talked about shared interests in writing, editing, music, and Wisconsin. Fast forward to the fall of 2021. I was working with Jason to develop the new Academy Courses when he was lured away by PBS, leaving some big shoes, and this page, to fill.
I am honored and thrilled to find myself here. Jane Elder, our recently retired director, likened our work at the Academy to building a plane while flying it. This is a fine craft that Jason and the good crew here have built and set aloft. My aim is to keep it soaring high, continuing to serve and celebrate people and ideas from across the great state of Wisconsin, as Jason so ably did. I’m pleased to have you along for the ride. After all, an opportunity like this only comes around once in a blue moon.