By Sid Baglini
Friday, November 19, 2021
We’ve reached that time of year when only the most intrepid of moon watchers bundle up and trundle out to commune with what was called “the poor man’s lantern” by the Scots who settled Cape Breton. That’s an apt description of the surprising amount of light provided by the full moon which is further enhanced by the reflection of light off frost or snow.
Native Americans called this The Beaver Moon both because it was a good time to trap them for winter furs and because it is the time of year they seek shelter for the winter in their haystack shaped dens. Some tribes called it The Digging Moon or Scratching Moon because animals, preparing for the long winter, are busy foraging under trees and leaves for berries, cones, and nuts. It is also known as The Cold Moon since the nights are characterized by low temperatures and The Frost Moon because of the icy carpet that frequently appears on the landscape. Another frigid name is The Snow Moon though fortunately for us in Malvern, that is generally more applicable after December. In Europe, it is called The Oak Moon which is linked to the Druids harvesting parasitic mistletoe from a sacred oak tree for use medicinally to cure infertility or the effects of poison.
This year’s Beaver Moon will coincide with a partial Lunar Eclipse which will reach its peak at 4:04 a.m. EST. If you are an early riser, you will have a total of about three and a half hours to witness this lunar event but the best viewing in our area will be from 2 to 4 a.m. The full moon reaches its peak at 3:58 a.m. and the Lunar Eclipse is at its maximum just 6 minutes later. The longest Lunar Eclipse of the 21st century paired with a full moon might make it worth your while to set an alarm the morning before our walk.
I hope you can join us for our November moon walk and for some good company along the way. We will meet at the Malvern Arts entrance to the Baptist Church on First Avenue, adjacent to the big parking lot.