Ancient Inspiration In a Modern World

Posted by Sustainable OKC | Posted in Nature, Robbie White, Science, Urban Gardening | Posted on 15-12-2008

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by Robbie White

The
most gorgeous moon has been in the sky these past few days. It is
called the Long Night Moon. I understand why the peoples from more
agrarian times called it that. It hangs, glowing, in the sky lighting
the longest and coldest nights of the year. In days before electricity
much had to be done from sunrise to sunset. Lighting with candles or
lamps wasn’t always dependable. The reason the glorious December full
moon is visible for so many hours also has a scientific explanation:

“The
midwinter full moon takes a high trajectory across the sky because it
is opposite to the low Sun. The moon will also be at perigee later this
day, at 5:00 p.m. EST, at a distance of 221,560 mi. (356,566 km.) from
Earth…” http://www.space.com/spacewatch/080118-ns-moon-names.html

I
encountered the most recent Long Night Moon last Monday night while I
was completing some holiday errands. I emerged from a store that faces
west and was stunned to find the horizon aglow with the very last of
the day's sun. Several planets were visible just above the horizon, and
despite the well-lit parking lot, I could sense the glow of the
Long Night Moon behind me. As I turned to see the glow of the moon, I
did not think about how much closer this moon is than other full moons
of the year. Perigees and trajectories never crossed my mind. I felt
closer to the earth’s natural rhythms in that moment. I allowed the
huge Long Night Moon to remind me that no matter what name we give this
cold and dark time of year, the natural order calls to me.

As
I stood in the parking lot taking in the lovely view, my fellow Fresh
Greens bloggers, Jennifer Gooden and David Brooks, jumped into my mind
as I recalled that they wrote eloquently about the joys of growing
their own food. I thought about the gifts I have left to buy and
wondered how I could merge the two thoughts. Is there anyone on my
gift list who loves to garden? What gift would encourage their
enjoyment of growing the food they eat? Jennifer and others have
several good ideas in their blog entries.

What will I do with the long nights of winter before I can plant my earth boxes
again? I think I will dig out my garden dreams of less busy years and
dust them off. I will plan which lovely things I will grow on the
balcony of my urban home that has too much shade for a good garden. I
will even write a Christmas wish list (which I haven’t done in years)
that includes some gardening books.

I
am grateful to the ancient Long Night Moon combined with the ultra
modern tool of blogging that inspires me to look again at growing
things and gives me a fresh perspective on gift buying. It is not too
late to buy some gardening books or magazines or seeds. What inspires
me more is wondering if I could grow enough in the summer of 2009 to
preserve as gifts for next Christmas? If I plan ahead, maybe I could
purchase some local berries or fruit to make homemade jams to wrap up
next winter? How about some jars of zesty sweet pickles from Oklahoma
grown cucumbers? Other thoughts on next year’s giving fill my mind like
visions of sugar plums…. I wonder if there is a recipe for sugar
plums online?  Hmmm…

I wish you all a happy Christmas full of joy and peace and dreams of warmer days and growing things.

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