Thursday, December 15, 2005

Long Nights Moon

Another full moon hanging up in the sky, all fat and golden like the illustration in my childhood book, Wynken, Blynken and Nod. Two moons ago I was in Osceola, one moon ago I was just arriving here in Wood Village. The Indians who were here long before me, marked their lives by moons. They called the December moon the Full Long Nights Moon or the Cold Full Moon.

The full December moon is also known for typically being the full moon that takes the most northern path in our sky for the year. Because the moon is entering the Lunar Standstill Cycle, this December’s full moon will be the northernmost until 2023. Go outside and look up. Do you also see Orion and the bright star Betelgeuse? Look closer to the horizon. Do you see the dogstar Sirius? A cold clear night is perfect for gazing. If you don’t have a good star book (I do…a gift from a good friend years ago), try your daily paper or check out one of the many websites available.

It will be cold in The Gorge and the dogs’ water dish will freeze tonight if I forget to bring it in. It’s time for the down comforter and maybe a hot water bottle to warm the bed before I get in. But there are no drafts in this house and it will stay comfortable all night. I think of other cold nights…on The Ridge and at Terrapin Station. Places where heat was not always reliable and where I shivered through long nights more than once. Those days are over now, thanks to my children. I have a warm home base heated by electricity that does not come and go willy-nilly nor run out in the middle of the night or on a Sunday.

Tomorrow morning when I open the back door to let the dogs out, the setting full moon will be hanging over the western ridge, and the bare branches of my one deciduous tree will be silhouetted against it. A wonderful way to start the day!


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