Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Hunter's Moon of October

In the northern hemisphere, October's full moon rides a deep velvety evening sky, one spangled with the first winter stars like sequins and touched with crackling frost. This is the sparkling stuff a moon lover and backyard astronomer's dreams are made of, but there was impermanence in the air last evening and a sense of things passing away, a feeling of wabi-sabi as we (Spencer and I) watched the moon rising behind the leafless sumacs.

The harvest is over except for late yields of apples, squash, pumpkins and gourds, and we are readying ourselves for the longer nights to come, filling our larders like squirrels and turning the earth in readiness for a springtime that is still many months in the future. As the days grow shorter, we begin to spend more time indoors and closer to the hearth. We pickle and can and freeze and preserve; we pile up firewood and eye our hoards anxiously. Will there be enough wood to last through the winter this time? Will there be enough potatoes, corn and beans, tea and toast makings? Sprigs of hope are tucked into every mason jar and sealer we "do up", and into the jars too go large dollops of the obdurate self-sufficiency and forbearance needed to make it through a long cold winter here. I've already checked the bindings on my snowshoes, and I know where my boots, gloves and parka are stashed.

There is a delicious melancholy in these late autumn days and nights with their intense stormy skies and fiery sunsets. All the world seems to be either migrating or falling asleep, and only gormless humans seem to be awake, alert and on the go. Somewhere in the midst of our frantic scurrying, we decorate our doorways and thresholds for Samhain (or Halloween) with scarecrows, wreaths and swags, flying witches, bales of hay and jack-o-lanterns, and we plan celebrations for that magical time at the end of the month when the veil between the worlds is gossamer thin and woven through with strands of dazzling potential. If I have a favorite night in the whole turning year, it is October 31st.

We also know this magnificent autumn moon as the: Acorns Cached Moon, Acorns Falling Moon, Big Wind Moon, Big Chestnut Moon, Blackberry Moon, Blood Moon, Calendula Moon, Changing Season Moon, Chrysanthemum Moon, Corn Ripening Moon, Corn Ripe Moon, Drying Grass Moon, Falling Leaves Moon, Frosty Moon, Hallows Moon, Harvest Moon, Ivy Moon, Joins Both Sides Moon, Kindly Moon, Leaf Falling Moon, Leaf Dance Moon, Leaves Change Color Moon, Maple Moon, Michaelmas Daisy Moon, Middle Finger Moon, Moon When Birds Fly South, Moon of Poverty, Moon When Geese Leave, Moon of Changing Season, Moon When Quilling and Beading Are Done, Moon When Water Begins to Freeze on the Edge of Streams , Moon of Harvesting, Moon When Deer Rut, Moon of Acorn Gathering, Moon When Corn Is Taken in , Moon of Changing Season, Moon of Falling Leaves, Moon That Turns the Leaves White, Moon of First Frost, Moon When They Store Food in Caches, Moon of Long Hair, Nut Moon, Raking Moon, Samhain Moon, Shedding Moon, Small Trees Freeze Moon , Song Moon, Striped Gopher Looks Back Moon, Strong Moon, Ten Colds Moon, Travel in Canoes Moon, Trees Felled by Fire at Butt Moon , Trout Moon, Vintage Moon, White Frost on Grass and Ground Moon, Wild Turkey Moon, Wilted Moon, Wine Moon, Winter Coming Moon

I am rather fond of the names "Kindly Moon" and "Leaf Dance Moon".


Quiet said...

For the last two nights the moon has been glorious. And the turning of the seasons brings us warm winds, occasional rain and passionate dawns. I leave my place of work in the early evening and see the golden sun sink into the sea to the west, shortly to appear in your horizons. I find the turning of the day oddly comforting. The sun and the moon seem to hold us all together, closely, if we want that. I love coming here first thing in the day. Somehow what you see and describe helps my spirit surface! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I love your word rambles. You speak of gathering for the winter and canning, and it is all so delicious, making ready for the next season. Modrom/Sandi

Bramblemoon Farm said...

What an awesome picture! I think my favorite name for this moon is Leaf Dance Moon.

Chuck Connors said...

Chuck Connors

Off we go by the light of the moon
The hounds are baying, our breath is frosty

Across the fields and into the woods
We follow the hounds upon their quest

The hounds go up, up and down the mountain
Baying merrily like children set free

But soon the sound of their barking changes
To a deeper tone, musical to hear

Hark! They’ve treed a coon, let’s hurry boys
Bring the lantern, don’t forget the ax

Men and boys all panting up the slope
The treed coon gazes down upon us

The hounds strain and jump, leap for their quarry
The creature fidgets from branch to branch

We shine the light capturing the bandit
Its masked eyes glint, the rest in shadow

Uncle Nipper brings up the rifle
His sights fall upon the coon at bay

When suddenly more eyes appear
Three tiny kits clutching their dam

Let’s let’er go boys he cries aloud
This one’s no good, she’s given’em suck
The men nod their heads approvingly
All wondrous of nature’s ways

While we boys turn back for home
To hard cider, the fire and jovial laughter

The dogs now safely penned
In their kennels curled up nose to tail

While the hunter’s moon, cold and bright
Sails the sky, alone o’er all.

Livia Indica said...

WOW! This is my new favorite moon photo. Gorgeous, especially for this time of year.

Texas Travelers said...

Great photo and words that touch the soul.

there were a few moon names that were new to me. The moon is a favorite of mine. Thanks for sharing.

Come visit anytime,
Troy and Martha

PS: Alaska Sunday Hope, AK photos are up today.