Last night before going to bed, I went onto the front porch to look at the Wolf Moon, the full moon of January. The porch snapped and creaked with cold as I stepped onto it, and the front yard was aglow with moonlight. The Wolf Moon, soft yet bright and luminous, hung high in the sky, away from the trees, and I could see it clearly. Away from the moon, stars glittered in the night sky, and how beautiful it all was.
Cold weather has settled over Maine, and last night the temperature outside dropped to zero degrees. Much to the joy of those who like ice fishing, the lakes have begun freezing. When I go out for a walk in the woods with the dog, I wear leggings under my jeans. I am not one who likes to bundle up, but I wear a neck warmer as well as a hat. What else to do in such cold weather?
This morning, the house was below 60 degrees—our wood furnace has a difficult time keeping the house warm when the temperature reaches zero. Getting out of bed was not easy, and I slept with the covers up to my nose. When I raised the shades, I saw on the windows gardens of crystals, delicate yet hard.
Native Americans named January’s full moon the Wolf Moon. I have read that they also called it the Hunger Moon, and it’s not hard to imagine how this full moon got its names. In the north, January is one of the coldest months of the year. The time of all things good and growing is long gone, and I expect that for many who lived off the land, it was indeed a time when wolves howled at the moon, a time of hunger.
Not so for those of us who live at the little house in the big woods. Clif and I have—ahem—put on some Christmas weight as the result of a little too much ho-ho-ho. Now it is time to shed those pounds and, we hope, a few more as well. Time to cut back on the sweets. Time to eat more fruit and vegetables. And, perhaps, just as important, time to get back on the exercise bike. For Christmas, Clif bought me a new seat for the exercise bike, and it is comfortable, far better than the old one.
As I bike, I will read Pedaling the Ends of the Earth by David Duncan. The blurb on the book reads “Four young men come of age in a great bicycling adventure stretching from Spain to Japan.” Duncan wrote the book when he was young—he had just graduated from college when he and his friends went on their trek in the early 1980s—and even in his twenties, Duncan was a good writer. (Duncan has written many other books, and here is a list on Amazon.)
As I ride my bike to nowhere, I will travel vicariously with Duncan and his friends. Occasionally, I’ll think of my own central Maine bike rides, which will begin in the spring. I won’t go far, but that doesn’t make the rides any less enjoyable.