Goodbye Winter Moon

This year’s micro-moon will rise into the night sky on March 5th. Because of its current distance from the earth it is the smallest moon of the year, but for me it represents something big—something exciting—the end of winter!

Photo Credit: Jackie Tiner
Photo Credit: Jackie Tiner

Many of the March moon monikers symbolize this welcome transition of the seasons. After months of the bright winter sun reflecting off the snow, some Native Americans call this The Moon When Eyes are Sore from the Bright Snow. And as the snow melts in the warming daytime temperatures only to freeze again at night, a thick crust forms on the snow, providing inspiration for another name–the Full Crust Moon.

Photo Credit: Lyons Den Photography
Photo Credit: Lyons Den Photography

Soon the winds will dry the melting snow, which is why the Celts call it the Moon of Winds.

As always, I have a favorite name for this month’s moon. It is the Full Crow Moon.

Photo credit: Jodi Tiner (Access Photography)
Photo credit: Jodi Tiner (Access Photography)

The winter wind ruffles the crow’s black feathers as he soars just above the bare branches of the sleeping trees, their roots tucked safely away beneath the long winter’s snow.

sunset (2) The  western sky is ablaze with the colors of the setting sun. As the the crow turns eastward he is greeted by the moon.

Impatient for darkness it shines before him in the blue sky.

The crow circles once, then alights at the top of a towering pine. He caws, disturbing the evening stillness as he welcomes the last moon of winter.

He too is impatient. He is ready for the melting of the snow and the softening of the earth which will bring the worms to the surface.  He is ready for the trees to once again be filled with fresh green leaves, teeming with insects. He is ready to soak upearlymoon1 the warmth of the sun.

When I look up at the Full Crow Moon, I too will say goodbye to winter. Although I’ll  pass on the teeming insects, like the crow, I crave the warmth of the sun, trees filled with fresh green leaves, and the emergence of colorful spring flowers. I can hardly wait to soak in their beauty!  What’s your favorite part of spring?

spring

The Moon of the Raccoon

The waxing moon is growing larger each night and on the 3rd, February’s full moon will illuminate the sky. Most know this moon as the Snow Moon, a fitting name considering the blizzard that buried the northeastern United States last week. It has other names also inspired by the bitter cold of winter—to the Celts it is the Moon of Ice and to Native Americans it is The Moon When Trees Pop, the Hunger Moon, and the Little Famine Moon. But my favorite name for this moon is one that has nothing to do with the winter chill. It is the Moon of the Raccoon.

As darkness settles over the forest, the raccoon emerges from the warmth of his winter den. He pauses in the shadows as the wolf slinks toward the man-village in hopes of another easy meal. The raccoon is hungry, but it is not the hunt for food that has drawn him from his den. A call much stronger than hunger brings him into this cold, still night.

He waiRaccoon Moonts until the muted sound of the wolf padding through the snow disappears and then slips from the shelter of darkness to begin his search. The full moon fills the sky, casting its light through the bare branches. A sharp pop shatters the stillness and the raccoon pauses once again. But it is only the sound of freezing sap bursting from the branch of a nearby tree.

He has ventured beyond the boundaries of his usual territory when the wind shifts and he recognizes her scent, but there is another scent and it is closer. With a hiss, he turns to face his challenger and then attacks. Growls and screams fill the night air as the two raccoon boars fight for the female.

Defeated, his contender disappears into the night and the conqueror croons into the darkness. Soon the forest will be filled with new calls.raccoon moon2

The Moon of the Raccoon is a reminder that nature has begun its preparation for spring. There is hope. The snow will melt. The ground will thaw. And new life will emerge.

Giveaway

the-kissing-hand

During my search for images to use for this blog, I stumbled across the cover of Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand. In this heartwarming story, Chester Raccoon doesn’t want to go to school. He wants to stay home with his mom. To help ease his fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a secret with him—the secret of the kissing hand.

I couldn’t resist picking up a copy, well two copies actually. One for my two granddaughters and one or you!  I’ll be giving away a copy of Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand to one lucky winner. You can enter using the rafflecopter link below or commenting on this post. This giveaway will close on Valentine’s Day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations Brantley S.

Wolf moon

I love the night sky. Even on the coldest night, if the sky is clear, I slow down or even stop to gaze up at the stars.  Right now the sky is hidden behind the clouds of the first storm of 2015, but I’m hoping that those clouds will disappear at least long enough to provide a glimpse of the moon. Because tonight the first full moon of the year will rise—the Wolf Moon.

The Wolf Moon has other names. To the Celtics, it is the Quiet Moon, symbolizing a time to stay home. The colonial Americans referred to it as the Winter Moon. To the Neo Pagans it is the Ice Moon. The Native Americans have many names for it: the Cold Moon, the Cooking Moon, the Hunger Moon, or Moon of the Terrible. But the Wolf Moon is its most common name.

Winter wolf2

It’s winter and the ground is hidden beneath a blanket of snow. Burrowed beneath the blanket, many creatures are nestled in their dens for the winter’s slumber. But the wolf is not sleeping. He is hunting. His food is scarce and the darkness brings with it the end of another day of hunger.  He raises his voice and howls at the rising moon. And then he stops. The wind has carried a new scent to his nose. The scent of food…and man. He fears the man, but his hunger is greater than his fear. The Wolf Moon lights his path as he follows the scent to the village. Here the man-smell is stronger. Firelight flickers within their dwellings. But the savory smell of livestock draws him closer to the village. He slinks into the shadows and strikes in silence, then slips away with his prey. Once his hunger is satisfied, he looks up at the sky and howls his thanks to the Wolf Moon.

wolf moon

Tonight when I gaze into the night sky, I will join the wolves in their howls to the Wolf Moon. And maybe the wind will carry the scent of inspiration to me and satisfy my hunger to write.