I know the Moons are called by many things, depending on the culture...
As I looked out to see the huge, bright light illuminating the fields and banks of snow (beautiful and newly fallen, it had blown and drifted leaving areas of the earth bare and filled in others...changes of hue and tone in the monochromatic landscape that accented the turning of the Wheel.
Just a few days ago, our misplaced (too late) and unseasonal (too warm) "January Thaw" took our snowpack average from 12" to a mere 2, showing furrows in the fields and garden, turning the lane to mud and leaving shrinking banks of black and brown much more suitable to March than January.
But as I contemplated by the Moon last eve, this Moon came by the name of "Turning Wheel Moon." The dark banks, not obscured, but accented by the forcefully drifted snow, and the patches of bare, muddy earth -- with footprints frozen once again in place -- spoke to the "hope for a good season" that fuels green-thumbed folks to pick up catalogues, place orders, and even begin tucking early seeds into pots warmed in the windowsills.
And the glistening, pristine drifts filling the distant lane and undulating across the fields told stories of more time for contemplation, preparation, thought and rest.
I love February. Not, as many say, because it is short and quickly over, bringing the overly anticipated spring. No, I love it because it eases us gently into the busy days of summer, giving us plentiful times for "catching up" on the winter's rest -- which often seems delayed by holiday madness in our modern world.
Candlemas, Groundhog Day, Imbolc, St. Brigid's day... whatever you call this time of the year, it IS a time of change. Here in the Northlands, the sun is rising visibly earlier each morning and lingering longer in the afternoon. For me, it rises now before 7 am, which means before long it will be awakening me, not the other way around, as I feel during the winter season. These holidays, spread over a few days in early February, accent for me the tidal nature of these seasonal changes. As the sun does not wake up one morning and jump over the horizon an hour earlier, neither do the changing seasons turn on a moment, or a day.
The feelings of change rise from twinges that motivate me to remove the holiday greens and douse the yard lighting, to joy at seeing jonquils and daffodils, harbingers of the growing light, lining florist shelves. The garden plan is in process, and I anxiously await the first early order of seeds -- leeks and lettuces, broccoli and cabbage -- for the window sill. The second order -- for later indoor starts and the first direct seeding in the ground -- will go out this week.
And I stand under the Turning Wheel Moon and hail the tides of change with the hope for a good season for all.
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