Thursday, January 20, 2011

Full Wolf Moon

The New Basic Readers by Scott, Forseman and Company

Are you familiar with this reading series from grade school? I well remember Vistas in 5th grade and Cavalcades in 6th. I would occupy myself for long stretches of time by thumbing through the pages and copying out by hand all the poems that I liked best. I painstakingly entered into my scrapbook favorites by Elizabeth Coatsworth, Eleanor Farjeon, and Walt Whitman.

One of my top choices in Cavalcades was "Lone Dog," by Irene Rutherford McLeod:
Lone Dog
I'm a lean dog, a keen dog, a wild dog, and lone;
I'm a rough dog, a tough dog, hunting on my own;
I'm a bad dog, a mad dog, teasing silly sheep;
I love to sit and bay the moon, to keep fat souls from sleep.

I'll never be a lap dog, licking dirty feet,
A sleek dog, a meek dog, cringing for my meat,
Not for me the fireside, the well-filled plate,
But shut door, and sharp stone, and cuff and kick, and hate.

Not for me the other dogs, running by my side,
Some have run a short while, but none of them would bide.
O mine is still the lone trail, the hard trail, the best,
Wide wind, and wild stars, and hunger of the quest!

by Australian (?) poet, Irene Rutherford McLeod, 1891 - 1968
from her collection, Songs to Save a Soul, 1915


Tonight, before you go to bed, be sure to take a look out the window at the snowy, icy Full Wolf Moon, the First Moon After Yule. Listen for a moment until you hear the ghostly howl of the lone dog and the long gone wolf packs for whom the January moon is named: "Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages."

Similarly, the month we call January was known to the the ancient Angles and Saxons as Wolf - Month: Wulfmonath, since it was the time of year when the wolves were unable to find food, and their hunger made them bold enough to come into the villages.

A couple of nights ago, I managed to capture this rather unique perspective of the Full Wolf Moon of January:

This photo was taken, at Gerry's suggestion, from inside the house, where we have two of these hexagonal windows -- perfect for looking out at the moon. Photographing from the inside looking out appears to have been successful, judging by all the fun comments I received on facebook:

1. Mia: I saw the moon tonight at 8pm -- huge above the horizon! I guess that awestruck feeling it gave me must have been an urge to howl!

2. Eileen: What is it about moons? SO compelling/ hinting of worlds beyond...

3. Paula: Eeeeeerie...It always is, to me!

4. Karen: That is beautiful! Add noticed it on his way out the door this morning. Even after the sun came up, it was HUGE in the west.

5. Cheryl: I woke up about 4 this morning and the full moon was shining across the new snowfall. It was breathtaking, but I couldn't get my camera to capture it very well.

[I was just like Cheryl, outside first thing in the morning trying to get more pictures; probably the same view Karen had]

1 comment:

  1. I remember when I was younger that I could sometimes hear the wolves (or coyotes) howling at night. It was such a haunting sound but I never thought of them as bad animals. I suppose if I was a farmer I would have had a different opinion, though. There's something about a winter moon that is so much more mystical than a summer moon. Maybe it's the desolation of the earth with the bare trees and cold, hard ground.