December 03, 2006
Snow dogs & the baleful Moon
RIGHT: Jack watches Shelby, who is munching a bone in the snow
The first serious snow of the winter came Wednesday, 12 inches, followed by another five inches or so on Saturday. Nights have been clear and cold, a few degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
Saturday night M. and I walked the dogs before bed, the Moon so high that we hardly cast any shadows, the moonlight so bright that you could see colors in a muted way.
I thought of a paragraph from The Deities Are Many: A Polytheistic Theology by the Canadian historian of religion Jordan Paper. He writes that while many cultures see the Sun as male and the Moon as female, but there are exceptions:
. . . particularly in the polar regions, where the sex of Sun and Moon tends to be understood as opposite to that in temperate climes. As Louis Bäckman, a Saami scholar, related to me from her own experiences, after the winter darkness, Sun first appears as golden glow on the mountains. Daily, the glow becomes more intense and beautiful. The appearance of the Sun, low on the horizon, brings joy to Arctic peoples. In contrast, during the winter darkness, Moon remains high in the sky, shining with a bright, cold light, creating a feeling of dread.
Living at about 38 degrees North, we are a long way from the Arctic. But on a clear, cold night, with the Moon nearly full, you can imagine it.