“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you’ll land among the stars.”
— Les Brown, American motivational speaker and former T.V. host
The night sky was mesmerizing as I stood on the front porch gazing at the moon. Dark clouds drifted by in clumps contrasting with the pale sky in the background. In the open spaces between each dark cloud was a brightly shining star. It’s tempting to wish the sky would stay exactly the way it looked that night but really it never stays the same.
During our 2021 year there will be twelve full moons. Of those three will be supermoons, then a seasonal blue moon, and two lunar eclipses. Supermoons appear slightly larger and somewhat brighter than a typical full moon. This year the supers will occur in April, May, and June.
The full moon in April, occurring on Monday night, the 26th, will be visible at approximately 10:31. Each month has a full moon, and each moon has a “nickname.” The April moon is called the “pink moon.” The moon will not actually be pink though the thought of it sounds lovely. The name came from Native American culture, through Colonial times, and handed down through generations. As for the Native American nicknames, they applied to the moon for the whole month throughout its phases. The pink moon was to honor the early blooming wildflower, ground phlox, that typically blooms in April.
“The Old Farmer’s Almanac” founded in 1792 gives the traditional names of the moons from January to December. Here they are in month order: wolf moon, snow moon, worm moon, pink moon, flower moon (sometimes a blood moon), strawberry moon, buck moon or thunder moon, sturgeon moon, harvest moon or corn moon, hunter’s moon, beaver moon or frost moon, and the cold moon. The names came from seasonal activities of the time. Other cultures may have other names.
Here’s a few of the most unusual moon names and where they came from- The wolf moon occurred during the season when wolves howled. The worm moon indicates the season when earthworms appear active in the ground. The Algonquin native Americans called June the strawberry moon as a sign to gather wild strawberries. The July moon called the buck moon is when male deer start growing their antlers. The August sturgeon moon is when the sturgeon fish start running. The hunter’s moon is the time for “hunter-gatherers” to make plans for winter’s meat. Presumably beavers become more active in November and thus easier for trapping.
Obviously, the cold moon of December is because it’s cold. Another little bit of trivia is the last time a full moon fell on Christmas Day was in 1977 and the next time will be 2034.
So, as I stood on the front porch that night admiring the moon I thought of the “Man in the Moon,” and as a child announcing, “I see the moon and the moon sees me. God bless the moon and God bless me.” And so, He did, and so He does.
Columns by Shannon Bardwell of Columbus appear in The Dispatch weekly. Email reaches her at [email protected]