When I opened my front door Thanksgiving morning, I was greeted by the lovely sight of the pale full moon setting over the mountains. It occurred to me that I have seen this same moon before on my birthday. I decided to accept it as my personal “birthday moon.”
The night before as I was coming home from dinner with a friend, I saw a huge golden moon rising in the east. “Look!” I told Susie, “A harvest moon!” Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it was not a harvest moon. I remembered that all the full moons have names — the harvest moon is just one of them. The names were originated by the Native Americans, at least on this continent. Other cultures have their own names for the various moons.
The “Harvest moon” is in September which makes a lot of sense. The moon I was looking at is named the “Beaver moon.” The Native Americans named it that since the beavers are most active during this time, getting ready for winter. This is also the time when the Native Americans are active hunting the beavers to insure a supply of warm fur for the winter. As I researched further, I saw an alternative name for beaver moon was “Frosty moon.” I liked that better.
The names given the different moons make a lot of sense — there is the “Wolf moon” in January (evidently the wolves were getting hungry about that time of year when prey was scarce and would gather close to the Indian villages and howl), the “Snow moon” in Feburary and the “Worm moon” after that. I guess I should be happy with the beaver moon — I would not like to have the worm moon as my personal birthday moon! April, May and June have lovely names: “Pink moon”, “Flower moon” and “Strawberry moon.” Then there’s the “Full buck moon” (time to hunt!) and the “Full sturgeon moon” (time to fish!).
September is either the “Full corn moon” or the “Harvest moon” and October is either the “Hunter’s moon” or the “Harvest moon” — I guess it depends on whether the harvest ripens early or late. Then, of course, there is my moon — the “Beaver” or “Frosty moon,” and finally the “Cold nights moon” in December.
Most of us probably think of those big golden full moons as harvest moons because of the song, “shine on harvest moon.” It’s just as well they did not write that song about the March moon, “Shine on, shine on Worm moon high up in the sky … ” just doesn’t cut it.
I seldom see the full moon setting early in the morning so I’m delighted that November is the month that happens. During the summer we often get spectacular sunrises and sunsets, such as the one here.
It’s in the autumn and winter mainly that I notice the huge full moon rising in the evening, and once in a very long while, I see setting over the western mountains early in the morning. I’m sure there is a scientific and logical explanation for that, but for myself — I choose to believe seeing the delicate Frosty moon first thing in the morning is a little birthday present to me from God.