Howling Beneath the Full Wolf Moon

by Sid Baglini

Thursday, January 25th at 7:00 pm

We will begin our 5th year of Moon Walks by strolling under The Wolf Moon. The name is derived from a reality of deep winter for our indigenous predecessors, who endured the threat of wolves drawn near to camp by hunger. Winter is also a time of year when wolves are particularly prone to howling, perhaps due to hunger, but it is also thought it could be to protect territory or to serve a social function in the pack, like hunting or bonding. While wolves are no longer a threat, I spotted a fox crossing 1st Avenue on a nighttime walk a few weeks ago, so the carnivores are still afoot in our neighborhoods. The old folk tune,

The fox went out on a chilly night,

and he prayed to the Moon to give him light,

many a mile to go that night

before he reached the town-o

came to mind, although he appeared to be leaving the “town-o”. He was headed for the meadow in the Battlefield, which serves as a nighttime banquet for our owls and foxes.

Although the days are growing longer at last, the dangers of winter are still with us this month as evidenced by other Native American names for this Full Moon. From the Cree, Algonquin and Dakota we get names like The Frost Moon, The Hard Moon, The Freeze Up Moon, The Severe Moon, and The Frost Exploding Moon. No sweetness and light in those names! We can barely imagine the hardships of the tribes and the early settlers attempting to cope in this brutal time of year.. Other less shiver-inducing names include: The Canada Goose Moon, The Great Moon, The Spirit Moon and The Center Moon.

While walking the streets of Malvern during the dead of winter may not immediately strike your fancy, it is one of the best times of year to see stars above our hometown. There is no humidity, and so there are more stars visible than you can see in the warmer months. Jupiter and Saturn will also light up the night sky if we are blessed with a clear night. You can dress for the cold, we walk briskly enough to generate some heat, and the company is energizing, so we urge you to give it a try. Just keep in mind that if there is snow or ice on the roads, we will have to cancel as we put your safety first.

We meet near the chairs behind Borough Hall, and parking is available on Channing and on First Avenues.

Come join us for a congenial walk on the wild side (minus the wolves)!

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