By Mary Davis
Full moons have names and I really love that. The December moon is the Cold Moon, January the Wolf Moon and February the Snow Moon. There’s magic in a full moon in Winter: when the ground is white, night becomes day, and a magical glow emanates through the crisp air. I waited for the Wolf Moon to appear through the clouds, but alas the timing seemed unpromising. So I went to bed, curled up with “The Thurber Carnival” under my two layers of down and slowly drifted away while reading The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Then all of a sudden I was jolted out of my stupor by a bright light, like the archangel from the north descending into my little cabin, halo aglow, wand wafting over my head. I lay in a lantern into which the light shines, rather from within, among a vast web of tree shadows. I decided to get up and take a walkabout. I was summoned.
The night ground broke crisply under my weight, crunch crunch crunch, a knee-deep hole with every step. I unintentionally broke the impenetrable silence. Never have I experienced such quietude, a deafening, bone chilling quiet. Bravely, I traipsed on, an intruder into the wild animals’ private time. I followed tracks down to the pond, into the gnarly shadow of the big oak tree. I stood there looking out over the frozen pond in its rare silent stillness. Leaves of the oak cling to its branches and with minutest of breezes they sound like rain. Nature’s chime.
As I’m wont to do during my daytime meanderings, I started picking up sticks and setting them on the firepit. I like things tidy, and there’s something very centering about picking up sticks. I have “stick trees” where I pile fallen limbs against the base of sturdy trunks. I have a wheelbarrow full of sticks with a grey tarp pulled over, and a kindling container with a wood top. Larger limbs I pile on my fire pit and smaller ones are stacked high in my outdoor fireplace. I’m not putting myself in the same league as ex-presidents, but I can totally identify with their retiring to their ranches to clear the brush.
So there I was, out in the midnight light of the full, Wolf Moon, picking up sticks and keeping my ear tuned to the silence around me, when I became a bit alarmed. There was crunching in the woods, distant but distinct. More out of respect than fear, I started for home. An instinctive glance toward the woods awarded me with the sight of a statuesque buck; mutually frozen, the two of us stood looking at each other. With an apology for my intrusion I continued on my way, back into the warm folds of goose down. The morning sun broke as the night ended, with a tangle of tree shadows in the snow and a feeling of wonderment. Full moons in the winter are the best. ~