When April's full moon comes calling and lights up the night, there is (or ought to be) tiny new grasses underfoot, the astringent scent of life-giving sap flowing through twigs and branches as the earth undertakes her reckless prodigal flaring into spring. This northern part of the world awakens slowly, and in April we northerners tend to go a little mad, cavorting like perfect ecstatic fools on the cusp between winter and spring as we wait for temperatures to rise and the landscape to come to life. In her resemblance to a great cosmic egg or seed, this month's full moon expresses the greening to come and the new life quickening in the earth far below her light.
A puckish and unpredictable thing is life in the great round and what I like to call "the matter of moons". One goes out faithfully with tripod and camera month after month, and she is always hoping to see the moon on her special night but can never really be sure - especially in springtime when the lady is concealed by rain clouds for days at a time. Last evening, Spencer and I were fortunate, and skies were clear for a brief interval - a little before nine, Luna rose over the bare trees, and we were both there to watch her climb. We had not been so fortunate in the wee hours of the morning. Before two o'clock, we wrapped up warmly and went outside to observe the lunar eclipse, but the skies were covered from horizon to horizon with storm clouds, and there was no moon to be seen, no spangly stars and no sign of the eclipse at all.
Around this moon time every year, I find myself all wrapped up in vague longings that evade description, wandering for hours in the woods and by local waters and reaching for something that can't be articulated in words or captured on a memory card. Some of the restlessness can be attributed to my being here all winter while family members, neighbors and friends rambled away to warmer climes, but the simple truth is that I too long to sprout leaves and burst into shaggy riotous bloom. The moon in her radiant fullness has a way of quieting my nebulous springtime longings, and sometimes old stones lull them too, as do little garden jungles of rain dappled leaves and flocks of Canada geese passing overhead on their way to the river. There's a gentle kind of wabi sabi melancholy in such yearnings that becomes stronger and more compelling with every passing year.
We also know this restless yearning moon as the: Ashes Moon, Big Spring Moon, Broken Snowshoe Moon, Budding Trees Moon, Bullhead Moon, Cherry Blossom Moon, Daisy Moon, Moon, Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Flower Moon, Fourth Moon, Frog Moon, Glittering Snow on Lake Moon, Grass Moon, Gray Goose Moon, Great Sand Storm Moon, Green Grass Moon, Growing Moon, Half Spring Moon, Hare Moon, Ice Breaking in the River Moon, Leaf Split Moon, Loon Moon, Maple Sap Boiling Moon, Moon of Greening Grass, Moon of Red Grass Appearing, Moon of the Big Leaves, Moon of the Red Grass Appearing, Moon of Windbreak, Moon When Geese Return in Scattered Formation, Moon When Nothing Happens, Moon When the Geese Lay Eggs, Moon When They Set Indian Corn, Moon, Pink Moon, Planter's Moon, Planting Corn Moon, Planting Moon, Poinciana Moon, Red Grass Appearing Moon, Ring Finger Moon, Snowdrop Moon, Snowshoe Breaking Moon, Spring Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Strawberry Moon, Strong Moon, Sugar Moon
As names go, I am rather fond of "Cherry Blossom Moon" and "Sugar Moon".