Tuesday, January 02, 2018

The Wolf Moon of January

Here we are on the first day of a new calendar year, and the first full moon of the year too. Not long ago, we leaned against the fence and photographed waves of departing geese against a rising autumn moon, and here we were again recently. The great birds were long gone of course, and their parting songs were only a faint echo on the wind.

January's moon is the coldest of the calendar year. We stoke the embers in our wood stoves and huddle by the hearth on long nights, brew endless pots of tea and stir cauldrons of soup, count sticks of firewood and kindling and hope another trip out to the woodshed is not needed, at least not for a while. We wrap ourselves up as best we can and take toboggans of nosh into the forest for the birds and the deer. On our wild jaunts, we look for the first signs that daylight hours are stretching out again, measure the incline, intensity and sharpness of the deep blue shadows falling across our trail as we crunch along. The north wind holds dominion over the Lanark highlands in winter, and it cuts like a knife.

During the last winter Olympics, an ad supporting the Canadian team proclaimed: "We are Winter” (“Nous sommes l'hiver”), and truer words were never spoken. Winter is something we do up here, and we do it very, very well.

On clear winter nights, timber wolves on our hill in Lanark raise their voices in song, and coyote clans on the other side of the Two Hundred Wood sing a magnificent harmony, the two choruses performing a descant that rises and falls in waves across the inky snow and travels for miles - it's almost Gregorian, a Kyrie eleison so gorgeous it gives us goosebumps and leaves us breathless every single time we hear it.

In only three or four weeks, great horned owls will be nesting in our woods again, and a few weeks after that, the maple syrup season will (hopefully) be starting in the highlands. Of such small and hopeful notions, our winter days are made.

We also know this January moon as the: After Yule Moon, Big Cold Moon, Buckeyes Ripe Moon, Carnation Moon, Center Moon, Ceremonial Initiate Moon, Cold Moon, Cooking Moon, Turning Moon, Earth Renewal Moon, First Moon, Frost in the Tepee Moon, Frozen Ground Moon, Great Moon, Great Spirit Moon, Greetings Maker Moon, Her Cold Moon, Hibiscus Moon, Holiday Moon, Ice Moon, Lakes Frozen Moon, Little Winter Moon, Long Moon, Man Moon, Midwinter Moon, Moon After Yule, Moon of the Bear, Moon of the Child, Moon of Darkness, Moon of Flying Ants, Moon of Life at It's Height, Moon of Strong Cold, Moon of Whirling Snow, Moon When Animals Lose Their Fat, Moon When Limbs of Trees Are Broken by Snow, Moon When Snow Drifts into Tipis, Moon When the Snow Blows like Spirits in the Wind, Moon When the Sun Has Traveled South, Moon When the Old Fellow Spreads the Brush , Moon When Wolves Run Together, Ninene Moon, No Snow in Trails Moon, Old Moon, Pine Moon, Plum Blossom Moon, Quiet Moon, Rivros Moon, Rowan Moon, Severe Moon, Snow Moon, Snow Thaws Moon, Snowdrop Moon, Snowy Path Moon, Strong Cold Moon, Sun Has Not Strength to Thaw Moon, Thumb Moon, Trail Squint Moon, Two Trails Moon, Weight Loss Moon, Whirling Wind Moon, White Waking Moon, Winter Moon, Winter's Younger Brother Moon

Always an admirer of wolves, I like the name "Wolf Moon", but I am also fond of "Great Spirit Moon" and "Earth Renewal Moon".


Tabor said...

The wolf moon has shone into my bedroom window every night at around 2:00 and I wake and then cannot fall back asleep as it fills the room with light

Barbara Rogers said...

Keeping in touch with the cycle of nature/life. I think I'd jump out of my skin if I heard wolves or coyotes singing.

Sabine said...

I just want to thank you for your inspirational words and pictures throughout the last year that I have found your blog. It is always a pleasure.

SQ. said...

Moon of the Bear 🐻
Thank you for bringing the old wild ways...