Monday, January 13, 2014

Week of the Great Spirit Moon

In today's Star Tribune, Paul Douglas is a man after my own heart. He writes:
"If you're keeping track, there are only 32 days left until Valentine's Day; 47 days left until Meteorological Spring (March 1st) and only 66 days left until the Vernal Equinox (March 20). To be honest, I can't believe it's already the 13th of January. Before we know it, we'll be able to start buying petunias and pansies! #Optimism

"Not sure if that positive spin helped any, but the good news is that we're heading in the right direction. We've managed to pick up nearly 20 minutes of extra daylight since the Winter Solstice a little more than 3 weeks ago. By the end of January, we'll have gained nearly 40 to 50 minutes!"
Of course, the way last Spring played out in Minnesota, I'm not sure the arrival of Spring is all that meteorologically significant. We perpetually live in hope. Mr. Douglas didn't mention it but Minneapolis' average high reaches 32 usually during the last week of February (less than 47 days away). That leads to Spring green up and leaf out becoming noticeable in late April to mid-May. Could you use a reminder of what happens when that occurs? Here's what Spring can look like.

Spring green up
Spring green up                © harrington

Just weeks before these trees started to turn green, we got hit with a notable April snowstorm. Then, southeastern Minnesota got over a foot of snow last May 1 to 3. This is what early Spring looked like last year.

April 19, 2013 snow storm
April 19, 2013 snow storm      © harrington

Getting back to where we actually are on the calendar, according to the Anishnaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe), this week's full moon, which is on January 15, is called Gichimanidoo-giizis, the Great Spirit Moon.  For the Ojibwe, January is the Great Spirit Moon because that is when the Great Spirit has a birthday. Caroline Caddy tells us about another way to relate to the moon.

Editing the Moon

By Caroline Caddy

Be precise
authority is magic.
When you think you've got it straight
wax wane declination
feel the movement under your hand
one summer morning
as you observe it set
then rise that night.
Always use a well-sharpened pencil
followed by a good eraser.
Watch the white emerge.

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