The Wolf Moon

January 8, 2012 § 2 Comments

January’s full moon is tomorrow, the 9th – the Wolf Moon – though this night it was as near full as can be. It beckoned, as full moons can do. I listened, as I so often don’t.

I heated chili and poured it into a wide-mouth jar, then wrapped the jar in a tea towel. Took the cornbread muffins out of the oven and let them cool while stuffing books, yarn, and a spoon into my backpack. Found a scarf. Pulled on the wristwarmers my best friend gave me, slipped my feet into boots.

We went out, this white-blue night. Out to dinner meaning out to dinner. No cars in the parking lot. T bounded from the car. I walked slowly after.

It would have been best to get away from the sound of cars, the lights of houses, but that means going into the mountains and too far. So we take what we can have.

The first sound, over and beyond the cars, was that of the geese. The chorus of them raised their voices in a moonlit evensong, over the rise before the land slides down to the reservoir. We did not go to see them – we stayed on the trail – but they sang to us all night. I liked knowing they were there. I imagined the village of them, the gray and black gone silver, their wings tossing light as they moved.

Then came the sound of feet, T’s quick steps, my longer strides scuffing over gravel. Only patches of snow and ice to interrupt the rhythm. A few minutes of walking and I felt hungry. There is a picnic table that sits close to the water, which was white with ice. I spread burlap over the worn wood. The chili steamed into the air when I removed the lid from the can. It smelled so meaty and good that Tassie looked up from where she was nosing around the shoreline, then came over with her ears forward in expectation.

We had our dinner with lit candles, until they seemed too strong when I wanted only the calm of the moonlight. I blew them out, tucked them away. Honey-soaked cornbread. I rubbed my hands together and looked at the black silhouette of the tree against the half-frozen lake. No headlamp – forgotten in the closet at home – meant no reading, no knitting. Never mind; we would walk. It was what would make T the happiest, anyway.

In Colorado predators are always on my mind if I go too far or dark has fallen. Even here in the pinpoints of light from houses across the reservoir and up into the mountains, in the road noises not far away. A couple had walked past us earlier with a black labrador, so I reassured myself: If they thought it was safe, it likely was. Walk on.

T skittered and loped around, sometimes so far I could hardly make out her shape in the evening’s dim, though usually I could hear her well enough. Not stealthy, that one, but affectionate to make up for it. She is a breed meant for companionship, that’s for sure. I have owed her this walk and it was a nice thing to give it, at last.

And I found myself in prayer. I remember, now, how common a thing this used to be in this small life of mine, walking and praying. Often aloud, catching myself if another person happened to pass by. Nature became where I would best find Him. Walking was how I would begin to reach for Him. Clarity came in the space, and quiet, in my voice tumbling forth, and movement.

This has seemed a lost thing. Lost, almost without notice, in the pursuit of work and the appeal of technology’s entertainment.

When did I stop lingering through the woods? When did I stop allowing myself to be drawn into its holiness?

Only an hour or so, we had, this night. A duck rustled the water as we rounded the last bend. Only an hour or so, we had, but home I went with a hunger met, a spirit widened.

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