Friday, January 29, 2010

Wolf Moon

The Wolf Moon in January is the largest and brightest of our full moons each year because it is at its closet point to the Earth in its 12-month cycle. Last night around 6 o'clock, as I was shutting in the chickens for the night, I watched it rise against the dark blue winter sky. It was an odd cast of blue, perhaps a midnight blue, and unlike any night sky I had seen before. There was also a ring around the moon–a sign of bad weather to come–and I'm sorry that my camera does not do it justice.

Tonight, the actual date of the full moon, we are getting an unusual snow storm for Kentucky: 8-10" inches predicted over the next 24 hours. This monstrous storm has girdled the country, barreling right through the Midwest but at its own leisurely clip. So I expect that is why it will slowly work its way across Kentucky–and, of course, is the reason why we can't see the moon tonight. A year ago we had a major ice storm here but fortunately we were too far south to be affected by it. This storm is the opposite: the further north you go in Kentucky, the less snow that is expected.

The almost full Wolf Moon over Hickory Nut Ridge: January 28, 2010.

I have enjoyed this January: lots of time in the house, puttering, some writing, working on projects, closets, office, working on the diet again after a self-imposed plateau. We've kept to our goal of not going out to restaurants too often, we're working our way through freezers and foodstuffs, and enjoying a bit of winter weather here. We've had cold and snow off and on throughout the month. I like a bit of winter and a month or so of it here will be just enough (the rest of the winter seems like a perpetual muddy November). By mid-late February here it can be quite balmy: it even was last January when they were building our chicken house and shop.

School was canceled this morning but the snow didn't really start until 5pm. Oh well. No one complained–as the cold will go right through next week, the snow that falls will be on the ground for a while. It will be interesting to see how that affects school for our boys next week. Today they were supposed to have celebrated their 100th day in the school year but now it will have to wait. They've more than passed the midway bump now. The years just pass so quickly, the older they all get–the older I get! I have a good feeling about this decade for some reason: my daughter and I were talking about this on the phone last night. How we as humans seem to go through 7-year cycles in our lives, some better than others. But there is this necessary sloughing and growth, a renewal of sorts, that occurs within me every 7-years or so. Wintertime provides a sort of annual sloughing and soul-renewal, too: I welcome the introspection and occasional solitude, as long as I do not get consumed by it.

Picturing that first snow felt comforting. But why?...something deep inside me seemed to relax when I thought of seeing, just outside my window, those first thick white flakes begin to a white curtain, closing off the rest of the world. They would cover everything. I could sense them muffling my grief, hushing my tumult, damping my sense of loss...The world will be fresh and white, and I will start again.
~ from Leaning Into the Wind–A Memoir of Midwest Weather by Susan Allen Toth [University of Minnesota Press: 2003]

So a snow day–or a whole stretch of winter confinement–is just permission for lots more puttering, some blogging, cooking (I'll post some more recipes, too, and that "Friendship Quilt" blog at last!), ordering chicks and some seeds, and just hunkering in. I need that for a bit of time each year as I am, by nature, an old crazy hermit woman. I embrace this now where I used to fight this aspect of my nature. I'm going to finally get to our Christmas cards, too (besides, they say "Season's Greetings" and our printed letter says "Happy New Year-ish"). It would seem the perfect weekend to sit down in my big comfy chair with a cup of tea and a pile of holiday cards. It's just been that kind of season: leisurely, no pressure, lots of rest, sleep, time for reading, and a renewed sense of who I am and what I'm trying to do. Hopefully it will also be a time of renewal for the world and for our country. We can only hope. In the meantime, I know what I can manage in my own little haven here on our Kentucky ridge and sometimes, most of the time, that is enough.

Here's to comforting blankets, warm food in our bellies, the love of friends and family, peace down in the valleys and high on the ridge tops, and to a better decade ahead. Hurrah for the 2010s!

NOTE: While adding a few more thoughts and the Susan Allen Toth quote here tonight, I was serenaded by a chorus of howling dogs. I guess they don't call it the "Wolf Moon" for nothing! [If you are obsessed with weather, like I am, you might enjoy Toth's book of ten essays on Midwestern weather, Leaning Into the Wind. She also wrote three excellent travel books on her love affair with England that I highly recommend. Her writing style is seamless and approachable and there are times I feel like I'm reading chapters, or at least excerpts, from my own life and perspectives. ]


Erica said...

Glad you are safely tucked away in your warm home. We are still waiting on the snow, but what a better way to kill time than to catch up on blogs. I too love to bake when it snows, chili simmered in our crock pot here all day, no baked goods yet though, LOL!

Catherine said...

Thanks, Erica! Sounds great~ when you posted your comment I was adding another photo and a great quote from one of my favorite books: on weather of all things!

All best, Catherine

Sarah said...

The moon was quite stunning here too. Enjoy your storm. It is -10 here with very little snow. We are all itching for a big storm!

a Cupcake near you! said...

A lovely post, as always. Jim and I enjoyed seeing the Wolf moon over Mt. Monadnock last night returning home from Keene. It was quite spectacular and took our minds off the 3 degree weather. Brrrr!

Later, when we went to bed it seemed like someone had left the lights on outdoors. The shadows of the tree trunks on the snow was a magical sight.

Enjoy the snow storm and all that comes with it!


Nancy Gail Ring said...

This is a beautiful post. I got goosebumps reading the last bit of it. I'm on the east coast but the moon connects the regions overhead. I too was astonished at how bright and close it seemed, such a riveting sight, and yes, seems to put life in perspective, being the mom of a young son also watching time fly. Your winter activities sound heavenly compared to mine - single mom with full-time job in grad school too! I'll live vicariously through your armchair and tea - though I'm sure life with chickens and growing boys in the Kentucky winter must be hard work too. Loved the quote too. Thanks for sharing.

Catherine said...

Nancy, what a difference 48 hours makes! Cabin fever, cranky people in the cabin, no holiday cards yet...

But sleep. Sleep is good. Maybe I should just bake more: that is usually my solution to the blues or cranks. I hadn't been to your blog in a while and realize I need to visit more often. Thanks for stopping here!


Anonymous said...

A word about the moon and the snow --
"The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of midday to objects below." Thank you Clement Moore and "Twas the Night Before Christmas." I had to get up in the middle of the night (for obvious reasons) and there was that big glorious moon lighting up the snow. I stood at the window and marveled at it before I hurried back to my warm bed and my warm cats.

Yosemite Cat House

Barbara said...

Oh it looks pretty, but oh so cold, will stick with the South here, love your blog and still reading lots of stuff, thanks for sharing your life with us.

prashant said...

I too love to bake when it snows, chili simmered in our crock pot here all day, no baked goods yet though

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