We made it. Crazy, fickle, snowbird gypsies we are -- crazy like jaybirds. It seems like an eternity we squatted on that Anchorage hillside with our cats & suitcases, poised for action like the backend of a crouching feline. Just waiting, tightly wound & positioned to spring forth, to free ourselves from the dark & frigid North, launching into the cold, dry vastness of the Utah desert. Just waiting for that plane to arrive.
We traveled by the light of the waxing Moon & leaving the plane & Las Vegas behind, we drove into higher altitudes. Always with the Moon -- Her radiance dusting the plateaus & valley floors like snow. Morning revealed our high desert homeland in a characteristic sharp winter glare. A contradiction: stark, yet brilliant -- blinding with goldtones. The pasture, the hills, even the cliffs are still without snow & I was surprised to find myself just a wee bit nostalgic for the frozen blanket under which we had lived since before Samhain.
However, it is very easy to feel welcome here, to be happy to have arrived. Living in the city, we temporarily forget the unexpected conveniences of country life. In this tiny town it is possible to walk over to the telephone company, sign a new internet service contract & have a man we know by name arrive at the house to make sure we are receiving all the megs we paid for, all within a span of four hours. Just in time for the weekend.
Just in time for the Esbat.
Tonight, our Lady Moon goes by the name the Long Nights Moon, also the Cold Moon or the Moon Before Yule, all of which are very appropriate. But the name Long Nights is of dual significance. First, of course, it speaks to this Moon's close proximity to Midwinter, the longest night of the year. Secondly, the name points to the lesser known fact that this full Moon, being opposite a low Sun, has high trajectory & remains above the horizon, within our view longer throughout the night than other full Moons.
I selected the poem for this Esbat out of longing, or perhaps anticipation. I have lived & re-lived this poem time & time again here in the Utah winterscape. Something about the Alaskan snow, or landscape, or both, does not afford this pleasure. It is one those precious gifts of Nature, one I can count on, one I await with great anticipation. Year after year, its magic never fades.
December Moon by May SartonBefore going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window.
Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
where the wild creatures ranged
while the moon rose and shone.
why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?
How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we'll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow.
It is good to be home. Blessings to you this Esbat my friends.