Friday, January 23, 2015

hunger moon.

We have a calendar of natural events that hangs on the fridge.  The calendar was put out by the Massachusetts Audubon years ago.  It shows the cycles of the natural world, week by week, throughout the year. Full moons, migrations, mating seasons are just some of what is tracked on the calendar.  The end of January, beginning of February marks the hunger moon.  Each month, the full moon is given a name that reflects the events of its season.  Many cultures have their own names for each full moon.  This year on Feb 3rd will be the hunger moon, just one of its many names.

February is a hard time of year.  We are using the last of our winter stores: 12 more bulbs of garlic, 8 onions, 10 jars of strawberry jam, 1 jar of tomatoes and so on.  As we watch our own stores dwindle, we are reminded of the reality of the hunger moon.  It is a hard time of year and while we can run to the grocery store when we eat up the last of our homegrown squash, our animal friends are not so lucky.  Food for wildlife is scarce this time of year.  It is around this time each winter that we are regularly visited by an owl.

It is a barred owl that is not visiting us, but rather our compost bin.  Our compost bin attracts mice, squirrels, and jays during this time of scarcity, and the small rodents and birds attract the owl: a living example of a food chain in our own backyard. It is a great learning opportunity for my kids and a delight for us all to see this beautiful predator sitting perched in our trees or flying silently across the yard.  This annual visit from the owl reminds us that we are not separate from the natural cycles, but a part of them, all living under the hunger moon.

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