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Full moon dances with clouds last night

The Anishinabe People (Ojibway) who live in our area call this December moon the Little Spirit Moon.  Some refer to it the Small Spirits Moon.  January’s moon is called the Great Spirit Moon. 

This month, on December 31st, another moon will rise in our night sky.  Many of us call the second moon in a month with two moons “The Blue Moon”.  Which is why you’ve probably heard the old-time saying, “once in a blue moon” implying something doesn’t happen very often.

I do not know what the Anishinabe call the Blue Moon.  I do not even know why they call this month the “Little Spirit Moon” although I could tell you some possible stories which may or may not be true.  Today it made me think of the small things in life, the little spirits, the precious gifts of life which are sometimes easy to overlook.

A small spirit: perhaps a coneflower or wild bergamot

Perhaps it’s because the sun keeps inching further and further away from our world.  As the darkness descends oh-so-early some people experience a feeling of despair or apathy or depression.  Perhaps “Small Spirits Moon” is meant to imply this is a time of year when our spirits sometimes flag or despair.  I’ve heard it said that our Christmas lights and candles burn in the darkness to help us through the bridge of the Winter Solstice.   That we share the light in this deepening darkness to help each other through these days.

As the earth in this northern hemisphere tilts away from the sun, the snows begin to fall.  The ice begins to freeze on our lakes and rivers.  We saw the first ice forming on a couple small lakes today. 

The sheen of new ice

Most of my outdoor commitment happened after dark today.  When one is planning to write a blog about the moon, one should go outside and look for it.  However, it wasn’t ready to rise in our sky at 7 p.m.  So I ambled in the dark.  How many of you have ambled in the dark in a forest?

It is a very interesting experience.

Can you see the ghostly images of trees?

You can see that it was snowing lightly this evening.  While it was dark, there seemed enough light to avoid falling in ditches, blindly running into trees or tripping over stumps.  I stayed fairly close to the house.  The wind rustled through the trees.  Suddenly–over there!–a great rustling ensued!  (My mind then began to wonder what that rustling might be.  Bears?  Deer?  Chipmunks?)  But the rustling stopped and the forest returned to silence punctuated with dog barks in the distance, perhaps the yip of a coyote, the low hoot of a faraway owl.

Our little house in the dark (with the moon in hiding)

Even though the snow fell gently down from the sky, it almost felt warm.  It’s nice to be bundled up in your warmest clothes when outside in December after dark. 

Goodnight, Little Spirit Moon.

P.S.  I just looked at the last two photos on a different computer and can not even SEE the ghostly images of trees and snow flakes and the soft etchings of our house against the darkness.  On this computer they basically look like two black photos.  Laughing…well I guess SOME of you can see the subtle ghostly images and the rest of you can enjoy the black night.   tee hee…

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Ice

Ice

The Anishinabe (Ojibway) call this November moon “The Freezing Moon”.  We all know why.  As the angle of the earth tilts away from the sun, our northern hemisphere begins to cool.  Winter whispers in the ear of autumn, “You’re outa here!”  Autumn waves the last of her vibrant leaves, recognizing that it’s here time to go.

Vibrant oak leaves...last to go...

Vibrant oak leaves...last to go...

I’ve had a challenging day or so.  I feel overwhelmed; spread too thin.  The precious silence and simplicity that I love has been eaten away by too-much-busyness.  It’s not just the new novel-writing commitment for the month of November.  It’s simply that I am not making enough room for quiet space if my life.  My soul is begging for me to listen and I simply brush it away, “Oh, do be quiet now, I’m busy!”   It feels as if an inner voice keeps whispering, “It’s time to let go of a few things in your life right now.  Let go of a few of those autumn leaves that are ready to release into the wind.”

The Freezing "Moon"

The Freezing "Moon"

People often move to the woods or country desiring a less hectic lifestyle.  They want simplicity, quiet, ease of life.  That can happen if one cultivates it.  But more often than not, Life and Busy-ness have a way of finding you even in the backwoods.  Busy-ness can take over your life, wherever you go. 

When Busy-ness starts getting overwhelming, we need to have a talk with her. 

“This is what must go,” we might say to Ms. Busy-ness.  “This and this and this.  You might like all these things, but are they really necessary?”

And we know what is simply wasting precious minutes and hours in our day.  We know.  But it’s often challenging to let that autumn leaf fall off the branch.  To simply let go of that which is not serving us, in order to give more quality time to that which nourishes our souls.

Snowy bike

Autumn slipping away...

Snow fell on the morning of the full moon.  Less than an inch draped our car, scattering on the fallen leaves.  In town, at the top of the hill, as I drove to get my hair trimmed, I noticed at least two or three inches of white.  Amazing how one area has no snow; three miles away you almost need boots. 

Every person is different.  Some of us need huge vistas of silence, of space, of walking in the woods with the companionship of the sun and moon.  Another person is satisfied with much less.  The snow falls in different proportions everywhere; we must listen to our inner guidance and follow the quiet direction which prompts us.

A frozen Buick

A frozen Buick

Too often if we refuse to heed our wise inner voice, our body speaks up instead and suggests a nice vacation with the flu or perhaps some other illness. 

I’m going to try, starting today, to make room in the midst of busy-ness.  Perhaps the busy-ness will sit back and relax.  Perhaps she and I will share a cup of jasmine tea and some silence.

Perhaps the leaves will effortlessly release from the trees and drift in the autumn wind, beneath The Freezing Moon.

Perhaps.

Miracle

Miracle

Outdoors today:  helped Barry move and cover the wood splitter.  Then we carried long heavy boards for his garage edition.  Later we covered the woodpile.  More checks off our “to do list” before winter arrives.

Catch a falling leaf and put it in your pocket...

Catch a falling leaf and put it in your pocket...

The Anishinabe (or Ojibway) call this October moon “The Moon of the Falling Leaves”.  This one isn’t hard to figure out.  The leaves are falling everywhere.  They’re not falling like they will fall in a week or so, but now they trickle down from the trees, splashing their red and orange and yellow colors everywhere.

It’s still raining.  Here’s what happens:  rain pours non-stop from the sky in a flurry of wet showers.  Then it ceases.  The sun even sometimes peeks briefly from behind the cloud-studded sky as if to say “Is it safe for me to come out yet?”  But then quickly ducks back in just as another rain shower pours from the heavens.  Yep, that’s how it’s been for days now.  The temperature stays in the upper 40’s or lower 50’s.

Three Leaves

Three Leaves

Today, in between rain showers, we pulled up the brown tomato plants and threw them in the woods.  Most of the tomatoes were rescued from freezing the other night, so the ripe ones already sit inside on the kitchen countertop and the green ones lie in the basement sandwiched between newspapers.  Just before we finished, the rain unexpectedly drenched us as another shower passed through.  I don’t know why I said “unexpectedly”.  These rain showers are getting quite expected every twenty minutes.

Colors lined up in a row

Colors lined up in a row

Good news!  The phone just rang and it was my mom.  She and dad are (hopefully) planning a trip up to visit next weekend. Hurray!  (This, however, means that I will need to spend a great deal of time INSIDE in the next several days cleaning up the house.)  But don’t worry, the outdoor commitment will still happen.

Here are some interesting photos from our trip to Houghton last night.  We drove down near the lift bridge when Barry said, “Look at that girl!  You have to take a picture.”  He prepared to stop the car.  I was full from dinner and muttering something like, “I don’t WANT to take a picture…” but the car was stopped and he gestured over toward the bridge supports.  I reluctantly opened the door.

But what a surprise!  How cool!  Some graffiti artist had drawn cool-looking figures on the supports.  Now, I know some people think this is defacing public property, and maybe it is.  But I loved all three figures!  Great art on the construction site.  (Much nicer than looking at all the construction vehicles.)  What do you think?

Girl playing violin in construction zone

Girl playing violin in construction zone

Somebody wants Change

Somebody wants Change

The Inspector looks around, wondering who the artist might be.

The Inspector looks around, wondering who the artist might be.

Wild rice moon shines on the Keweenaw Bay

Wild rice moon shines on the Keweenaw Bay

The September full moon shines upon us now.  With her lovely white orb, she brightens our nights.  Some call her the “Harvest Moon” honoring that many of our plants reach their full zenith now.  The garden produce finds its way into our kitchens, canning jars and freezers. 

The Anishnabe or Ojibway people of this land called this the Wild Rice Moon.  It was time to harvest the wild rice, known as manoomin, growing to full maturity in the small lakes or slow-moving streams.  The natives would often utilize their canoes harvest the staple seed which would nourish them through the long, cold winter.  They would bend the ripe grain heads with wooden sticks called knockers, threshing the seeds into the canoe.  For a more detailed explanation click here.

Many folks think that wild rice is a grain, but it actually is a seed.  We’ve been eating it more frequently in the last three or four years.  I like to add it to long or short grain brown rice and cook for 50 minutes.  In a separate skillet, saute some vegetables such as chopped onions, garlic, diced carrots, celery or other favorites.  Toss in the cooked rice, your choice of spices, and perhaps some soy sauce or vinegar.  Very good.  (Thinking about having some of this tomorrow with veggie and shrimp shishkabobs on the grill!)

Wild rice in wooden bowl

Wild rice in wooden bowl

The wooden bowl in the picture belonged to my grandpa.  It was a bean bowl.  I am not sure what that means, except he grew up in farming country in Michigan’s Thumb where navy beans grew plentiful.  We often enjoyed meals of baked beans while visiting on Sundays and holidays.  I am wondering if they sorted through the beans in this bowl, picking through the beans to discard the blemished or rotten specimens.  I am also wondering if the natives had wooden bowls like this in which they picked through the wild rice in the same manner. 

High school football game

High school football game

Right before the full moon rose last night, I traveled with Barry for an hour west to Ontonagon.  He had to take pictures at a Baraga High School football game, and  wanted to keep him company.  Even though I was tired of traveling.  It was kinda like a date.  We ate fish at Syl’s Cafe and then caught the first half of the game.

He suggested that I might want to title my blog “This was Once My Life”.  Because for many long years it seemed like we spent many a fall evening at football games.  Our son played for maybe five or six years before a knee injury required surgery.  And then I continued to attend many games that Barry had to cover for the newspaper.  Just so we could spend time together, you know?

The enthusiastic cheerleaders

The enthusiastic cheerleaders

On to today, Saturday.  Here’s the wrap-up.  The most delightful indoor activity of the day was going to the new coffee shop in L’Anse.  I have been so excited that we have been blessed with the first real coffee shop in Baraga County.  Yes, the restaurants serve coffee.  But we haven’t had such a selection of lattes and cappuccinos and wireless internet service.  I parked myself down there this morning for an hour with Ms. Laptop and we had a great time.  People in big cities (or even medium-sized cities) don’t understand what it means to get a coffee shop in a tiny little town.  It’s big.

Outdoor activities today:  harvesting the garden and sitting on the deck.   Yep.  And I’m sitting outside on the deck right now with the traveling laptop and it’s still 74 degrees at 8 p.m.  Life doesn’t get any better than this.

Happy Labor Day weekend, all.

Three guesses.  What do you think this is?

Three guesses. What do you think this is?

Before we start talking about full moons and such, here’s the game of the day.  What do you think that mysterious photo is?  What could it be?  Here is your only hint.  It was discovered between the house and the mailbox.  Please hazard a guess in the comment section.  Tomorrow will reveal the answer.

So today is August’s full moon.  And what a full moon it is!  Not only is it a dazzling full orb in the sky, it’s also participating in a lunar eclipse tonight.  According to the calendar, the auspicious event takes place at 8:39 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  It is called a penumbral eclipse.  Wikipedia defines it for us here.  The moon is passing through the earth’s penumbral.  The shadow of the earth has two distinctive parts (how many of you knew this?) Within the umbra, there is no direct solar radiation. However, as a result of the Sun’s large angular size, solar illumination is only partially blocked in the outer portion of the Earth’s shadow, which is given the name penumbra.  There will be a quiz.

Deep in the raspberry/thimbleberry patch

Deep in the raspberry/thimbleberry patch

Now that we have all the scientific discussion out of the way, let’s return to our full moon year-round theme of Ojibway names for the monthly moons.  August is the Berry Moon.  Go figure!  We’ve been on the theme of berries all summer. June was Strawberry Moon, followed by July’s Raspberry Moon.  I might suggest that August should be Blueberry Moon or Thimbleberry Moon, but perhaps the abundance of berries resulted in the generic name. 

However, and this is where it gets confusing, the guy on the radio this morning called it the Sturgeon Moon.  Which a cursory google search revealed is a name “some” Native Americans call this August moon.  My search didn’t reveal what tribe, but explained that many sturgeon are caught in the Great Lakes this month.  (Since we viewed the documentary all about the sturgeon at the Omni Theater in Duluth last month…I am inclined to believe that incredible ancient fish provided much sustenance to the tribes in earlier times before it nearly went extinct.)  P.S.  Even if you caught an elusive sturgeon these days, your instructions are to release.  Or suffer the wrath of the Department of Natural Resources and conservationists everywhere.  Let those sturgeon go.

I decided to pick berries this afternoon instead of go fishin’. 

Ripe and ripening thimbleberries

Ripe and ripening thimbleberries

And what a successful bowl of berries lies ready for tomorrow morning’s breakfast!  Once again, berries will herald the day.  The mingling flavors and textures of thimbleberries and raspberries make for a delightful treat.  As everyone knows, wild berries are much smaller than the cultivated berries you buy at the store or farmers market.  But wild berries taste jam-packed full of flavor.  Big is not always better.

Back to the full moon.  I hope you all glimpse it.  Last night it was a glowing orange-red ball in the southeastern sky around 9 p.m., attempting to crest above the trees in our woods.  Breathtaking beauty. 

Bowl of berries (look at the size of the thimbleberry leaf--bigger than a hand)

Bowl of berries (look at the size of the thimbleberry leaf--bigger than a hand)

Now for the quiz.

1.  What is the first photo?

2.  What is the penumbral?  (ha ha, I had to go back and read again!)

3.  Do you think it’s the Berry Moon or the Sturgeon Moon?

4.  Will you remember to go outside tonight and admire the moon?

Raspberries in a row (ok, they're from the store.  Wild raspberries aren't yet ripe.)

Raspberries in a row (ok, they're from the store. Wild raspberries aren't yet ripe.)

Yesterday the full moon glowed round and white in the night sky.  I’m assuming it did.  Probably some of you might verify this.  The calendar announced it was the full moon.  But I haven’t even glimpsed Ms. Raspberry Moon since maybe last weekend.

The Anishinabe  (Ojibway) call this July moon “The Raspberry Moon”.  Last month was the Strawberry Moon.  And next month is simply “The Berry Moon.”  As we discussed last month, I think the berry ripening seasons have shifted over the years.  Or else the moon-namers came from more southern climates. 

We Upper Peninsula folks have been experiencing ripening wild strawberries for a couple weeks now.  The cultivated berries are ready to be picked on local farms. The red raspberries won’t stain our fingers and lips and tongues until late July or early August.  And the wild blueberries and huckleberries burst into peak flavor some time next month. 

Nonetheless, in an attempt to honor the “Raspberry Moon” I happily discovered some raspberries in the refrigerator and decided to photograph them outside yesterday.  Does this qualify as “playing with your food”? 

Does this look like a Raspberry Moon?

Does this look like a Raspberry Moon?

OK, moving on to today’s outdoor adventure.  I enjoyed another day outside with friends!  This time my friend Jennifer (and one of her twin daughters) and I sat outside her house by the Ravine River.  We sipped coffee brewed with freshly ground beans and made with a french press.  It was another awesome magical time.

Doesn't it look like a peaceful scene sipping coffee by the river?

Doesn't it look like a peaceful scene sipping coffee by the river?

We haven’t sipped coffee together since maybe last Thanksgiving, so this felt like precious time together.  Her daughters are growing up so quickly it’s hard to believe they will start 8th grade next fall.  One of the twins opted to stay inside, but Winter and her mom posed for this photo inside the screened-in tent when the mosquitoes started lunching on the coffee drinkers.

Jen and Winter

Jen and Winter

It’s always strange this time of year.  It always feels like sometime in early July the energy gets much more intense.  Old friends start coming out of the woodwork, so to speak.  People you haven’t seen in the previous months suddenly call and want to get together.  It happens every year.  Suddenly you don’t have enough hours in the day.  The weeks start to fast-forward really fast, propelling rapidly through summer.  Before you know it, the August Berry Moon will be rising. 

I’m still hoping to glimpse the Raspberry Moon.  However, if you have to stay up until past 10:30 when it gets dark to glimpse her…it probably won’t happen.  It’s 9:30 p.m. and I’m already thinking bedtime.

Strawberry blossom says it all

Strawberry blossom says it all

The Anishnabe (Ojibway) call this June moon “The Strawberry Moon”.  Barry and I debated that today.  Either (a) this month’s name came from Ojibway living a LOT further south or (b) they meant Strawberry Blossom Moon. 

Our white strawberry blossoms smile up in full bloom.  We won’t be munching juicy ripe delectable strawberries until the July moon is thinking about its encore performance.  Doesn’t a quart of fresh organic sweet berries sound fantastic?  Maybe the Anishnabe were dreaming of strawberries and attempted to speed up time with this month’s name.

Flower sale at the Huron Bay Tavern

Flower sale at the Huron Bay Tavern

You might call this month “Planting Flower Month”.  Every year, about the first weekend in June, folks from downstate travel to the Huron Bay Tavern near Skanee (also fondly known as Billy da Finn’s, although I don’t know why) and sell baskets of flowers, tomatoes, and assorted other vegetables.  We always drive over there and find at least $20 worth of flowers and plants to plant.  (This is after we’ve found lots of other local vegetables which we’ve been curing in the sun and taking inside at night for a couple weeks now.)

Here’s the rule.  If you plant your tomatoes and peppers and beans and zucchini before June 10th:  watch out.  Frost might just attack those tender plants.  Barry’s birthday was yesterday and he thinks the date of planting these warmer-weather vegetables and flowers is June 6th.

So guess what we’ve been doing today?  Planting!

Planting the tomatos.  They are a little yellow, but we're hoping they make it.

Planting the tomatos. They are a little yellow, but we're hoping they make it.

Last night we received a little rain shower.  Not a lot, but enough to wet the ground and water the plants.  The dandelion puffballs looked a tad soaked in the morning, almost like they had a little shampoo.

Soggy dandelion puffball

Soggy dandelion puffball

The forest around our house looks leafy and green.  Spiffed up in its summer clothes. 

Green, green...everywhere you look

Green, green...everywhere you look

So we enjoyed a lovely birthday party this evening.  (Barry’s band played a gig last night so the official celebration was postponed until today.) Dinner menu:  tamale pie and green tossed salad.  Very delicious.  Barry didn’t want a cake, but kindly picked some lupines for our table.  He opened cards and packages and I…oops!…forgot to sing him Happy Birthday.  Hmmm, will do that the minute he walks in the door!  Promise!

Birthday lupines in a vase

Birthday lupines in a vase

P.S.  OH MY GOODNESS!  If the quality of these photos is acceptable, I am in seventh heaven tonight.  Gerry of  Torch Lake Views suggested compressing these photos on WordPress to save space.  She said it would also make posts load faster.  You can’t IMAGINE how fast these photos loaded.  Two seconds!  I am so very thrilled by this new possibility.  Thanks, Gerry.

I’m sorry to be so obsessed with the moon lately.  Here you are, coming back for some greenery or spring photos and all I’m doing is jabbering about the moon…yet again. 

Here’s the scene.  Last night:  9:00 p.m, just before dark.  I decided to walk back down to the bay and get a really great shot of the moon reflected in the waters.  Barry and I  fiddled with the little Cybershot Sony camera attempting to figure out ISO and OEV.  Sorry, while the rest of the world might know those photograph terms, I haven’t a clue.  It involves apertures of the camera, light, speed.  We set the OEV at +2.0 and down to the water the camera and I trekked.

Leaning against a sturdy birch tree, waiting for the moon to rise, I snapped a random shot at a nearby tree, or at least in the direction of a tree, for darkness was descending.  Look at this incredible blue!

It's a blue world right before darkness descends

It's a blue world right before darkness descends

Then I waited for the moon.  Waited for the moon.  Listened to a buck snorting behind in the woods.  Listened to a lone honking goose.  Silence.  Waited for the moon.  Fifteen minutes.  A half hour.  An hour.  An eternity.  How long can you stand up against a birch tree before falling asleep?

I pondered our ancestors who didn’t own calendars which insisted the moon would rise.  What if the moon wouldn’t rise?  What if it was refusing to rise?  Was I doomed to chase the moon and never find her?  WHY WOULDN’T SHE POKE HER HEAD ABOVE THE HORIZON?

Finally, the camera decided it was bored and started snapping random pictures in the dark, all of which came out black.  Except for this one looking overhead with a flash:

Birch branches in the dark

Birch branches in the dark

At first I was stubborn and planning on staying all night.  The moon wasn’t going to win this contest of wills.  But finally, like a good tired camper, I gave up.  Decided to walk home.  About a half mile away, or maybe three quarters a mile up the road.

Unfortunately, it was pitch black.  Dark as licorice.  Dark as dark.  The twinkling stars overhead refused to act as guides.  It was one of those dicey walks where you kind of tried to figure out where the road ended and the woods started.  You tried to stay in the middle of what appeared to be a vague clearing.  You just walked.

I only tripped over one minor stick in the road and finally felt my way home.  Fell exhausted into bed, frowning at the memory of that elusive moon.  But grinning at having made it home in blackness!

Barry came in from the garage a little later saying, “Kathy, the moon’s up, do you want to get up, do you want to try to take a picture?”  The answer:  a grunted and definitive no. 

He commandeered the camera and attempted to photo shoot the beautiful rising moon.  Look at his results!  You can’t tell us the moon wasn’t playing jokes last night! 

You call this a moon?

You call this a moon?

Or how ’bout this one?

The calligraphy of the moon

The calligraphy of the moon

OK, OK, apparently you need a tripod to keep things perfectly still for a lengthy time while leaving the shutter open.  Or something like that, anyway. 

I’ve decided that this playful April moon is kind of cool.  She’s not letting anyone make her stick to a schedule, or a definition of who we think she might be.  Shine on, Moon!  (I’m just not staying up tonight to see when you decide to rise in your glory above the tree line.  See you next month…)

The full moon played coy last night.  What a tease!  Now you see her, now you don’t.  It’s a heart-breaking story with a good ending.  Here’s what happened.

As you regular readers know, I readied to sit outside with the Broken Snowshoe Moon last night.  (That’s the Annishnabe name for the April moon.) The moon and I had some business to discuss.  You know she’s magic.  I know she’s magic.  There’s certain areas in my life (and the life of the planet) that need some magic.  You should discuss this with the full moon and see if she might lend a helping hand.

At 9 p.m. sharp I’m staring out the bathroom window where the night before Madam Moon shined her almost-full face down from the heavens.  OK, Madam Moon, where are you?  No sighting.  The dusk deepened all around, but our Lady refused to show her full white face. 

What to do?  I trudged outside and quizzically surveyed the sky.  Yep, there’s some random twinkling stars.  Yep, darkness descends.  Yep, those night birds chirp their goodnight songs.  Where oh where are you, O Moon?

Suddenly, through the trees.  What is that?  A great orange globe seems to penetrate through the woods.  YES!  I leaped inside, donned Grandma’s old snowmobile suit from the early 1970’s, and sprinted outside toward the car.  Shouted to my husband in the garage something probably inaudible like “The moon!  The moon!  I’m going to chase the moon!” and sped down the road through the mud and darkness, headed for the bay.

The 90 year old neighbor down the road insisted several months ago, “You must take a picture of the full moon over the bay.”  So here I am, trying to figure out where to park, trying to determine where to access the bay without trespassing wantonly on private properly, trying to chase down that Mother Moon rising full and orange and huge over the calm waters.

I finally found an access, not telling you where, running helter-skelter in the dark, trying not to fall with camera in hand.  The moon lit the surroundings enough to provide comfort while jogging in the blackness.  Arrived at the bay, breathless, prepared to greet the Moon and…and…I am not kidding…there is NO moon.

WHAT?  How could this be?  How could the moon shine so bright and orange and beautiful one minute, and the next minute be hijacked?  Who stole the moon?  I covered twenty possible scenarios in my mind in the next five minutes, standing dumb-founded.  (Well, it was probably one minute, before I began running wildly back up to the road and searching for another access.)

I had joined a group on another site, gaia.com, yesterday called “Now I can See the Moon”.  All I could think was…Now I can’t see the moon!  What an odd thing.  You join a group in the morning which advocates seeing the moon, and now the darn thing has packed up and left the country.  Without a cloud in the sky.  How could this happen?

At the second access, I stopped still in my panting tracks and beheld…the most beautiful sight in the universe.  That fat orange magnificent pregnant jubilant moon crested oh so slowly above the horizon, lifting herself onto our visible skies like a lady giving birth to a light we’ve rarely seen on the planet.

(Later, Barry helped figure it out.  We’re higher up on the road so the moon was visible rising here first.  Down at the bay it took a tiny bit longer.  Thank goodness that mystery was solved…)

I snapped photos of her magnificence but, alas, I don’t know how to slow the shutter speed and all those photographic adjustments to capture the way she appeared on the horizon with her shadow shimmering on the waters of the bay.

So this is the view the camera registered, with a flash illuminating the bush overlooking the lake.  The second orange ball is the shadow of our moon on the lake.

The "Broken Snowshoe" April full moon

The "Broken Snowshoe" April full moon

I’m heading back down there tonight to spend some more quality time with the moon.  Hope you all enjoy your time with her this month!

Snowshoe, hopefully not broken

Snowshoe, hopefully not broken

The Annishnabe (Ojibway) of this Lake Superior region call the April moon “Broken Snowshoe Moon”.  I’m imagining this is because Winter is in fast retreat, or slow retreat, and the natives look at their worn snowshoes and think, “wow, these need to be fixed before next winter”. 

I could be wrong, but it seems like a good time to look at our snowshoes and skis and determine what needs to be repaired before the next heavy snows settle upon the land. 

The natives of North America called this moon of April by many names, depending on their locales.  Here’s a handful:  Sugar-Maker Moon, When They Set Indian Corn, Moon of the Big Leaves (obviously not around here), Ice Breaking in the River, Frog Moon, Flower Moon, Moon when the Geese Lay Eggs.  You can study them for yourselves at http://www.americanindian.net/moons.html

If I named this month’s moon it might be:  Mud Moon, Moon of Spring Dreams, Moon of Melting Lakes, Snow Melting Moon, Moon of Pussywillows, Moon of the First Green.  Just think!  All around the country and world, we’re sitting under the same full moon, but our conditions and weather patterns and details are all different. 

Our April moon, isn't she beautiful?

Our April moon, isn't she beautiful?

I have no idea how to take a stunning photo of the moon.  What you see is what you get.  She’s overhead about 9 p.m. these days, a little to the south and east.  Out the bathroom window.  Here’s my plan tonight.  I am going outside a little after dark (9- 9:30 p.m.) and confer with the moon.  We’re going to have a little pow wow.  Discuss things.  Get serious.  I suppose, get thankful about life.

So today’s outdoor adventure will be AFTER the publication of this blog.  You guys must simply have faith that the outdoor commitment will happen.  (It’s happened already, really, when Barry and I sipped drinks on the deck in the 40 degree weather this afternoon. I was wrapped in a blanket donned with hat and jacket on our lawn chair.  One of enjoyed a hot bouillon cube and the other a glass of wine, but I’m not telling who enjoyed what.  When the sun shone through the clouds, it felt actually pleasant.)

Because it’s impossible to photograph the full moon in its shining glory, the maple trees decided to offer an imitation of the April moon. 

How did the moon get in that maple tree?

How did the moon get in that maple tree?

I’m happy to think we’re all sitting beneath the same moon.  For all our differences, for all the ways we call things different names and tell different stories…we still sit under the same April moon.  Maybe that knowing can bring us closer together as people.  It’s all the same moon…  (And maybe I’ll tell this same story, except for different names, every full moon for the rest of this year!)

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