Friday, February 18, 2011

Midnight Full Moon Walk

One of my very favorite books in the world is Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, who lives and writes prolifically in a nearby town.

Last year I wanted to take Lily on our own Owl Moon walk. February is a good time to lure the owls to fly out and be spotted because it's their mating season, so they are curious and maybe foolish. Lily and I practiced our owl calls and got all excited, but it didn't work out. Somehow the entire month of February was snowy or freezing or I was working too many days in a row whenever it was nice.

This year I put it on my calender for January and I started keeping an eye out for a good night.

I wanted a fullish moon.

It had to be clear.

I wanted it warm (above 32 degrees)

Neither of us could be sick.

I couldn't be working at 6:30 am the next morning.

It was starting to seem like it might not happen. We both had colds and stomach bugs and it was FREEZING most of January.

Then, last night I realized it was warm (32 degrees), It was clear with a lovely whisp of clouds flitting across the sky, the moon was full and gorgeous, we were both healthy, and my teaching job had a vacation so I wasn't get up at 5am.

The night had come!

I told Lily and she got whispery and excited because we didn't want to tell Georgia. She would have had trouble sleeping and been jealous but she actually doesn't like to be outside at night. I told Lily I would wake her when the time was right.

Then I got really sleepy and watched 30 Rock with Rob and dozed in front of the fire and worried that Cookie would bark when I left and dozed more uncomfortably with a bad pillow and hoped that when I went to look at the sky that it would be cloudy (I know! What a putz! But I was cold and tired and had no idea how it would all go.)

But I rallied when the moon was beautiful and the night was still a balmy 31 degrees.

I woke up Lily who mumbled "Just give me five more minutes..." but I jostled her until she woke up and we dressed in front of the fire.

We got out and the moon was perfect.

We crunched down the street, leaving Cookie in her crate, hoping she wouldn't bark and yip the whole time we were gone.

The moon was so bright, we had clear shadows moving along beside us. Lily was very chatty in a delirious sleepy sort of way. I tried to gently shush her and notice the night, but she was half asleep and probably a bit nervous.

We walked on bright moonlit snow paths into the golf course and walked to the base of a large tree.

We were getting chilly. We nestled our backs against the tree and I started hooting,

"Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?" (I didn't really say those words, the phrase just helps you remember the cadence)

(Here's what I was trying to sound like.)

Then we waited in the quiet.

Then I hooted again

Then quiet.

Then Lily hooted.

And we waited.

We heard some whining crying sounds in the valley below.


First one then another then we couldn't keep track. Was it 5 or 7? Where were they?

High, wild, squealing and connecting in the night.

They still sounded far away, but I did have that feeling of, "We can just run to the car. Oh right, we don't have the car."

Lily said, "I'm cold."

The calls got louder and maybe a bit closer so we turned toward home.

Exciting to know there are wild wiry creatures out there howling at the moon.

It was so sweet to enter the warm house and go to bed in front of the fire. (Rob was downstairs because Cookie had yipped and cried when we left.)

Happy Full Moon

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