Full moon. Shadows of moonlight on the snow make the night so bright you almost need dark glasses to go out there.
You can call it the Moon Before Yule (for obvious Gregorian Calendar reasons) ... or you can call it the Long Night Moon (as the First Nations folk did, because it is indeed close to the longest night of the year) Or you can call it the Cold Moon -- same deal, it comes in December, and gosh, yes, it can be cold.
But you can also call it stunningly beautiful. And if you were up here, in North Muskoka, you could see sights like this -- a fantastic photo of the moonset taken by Dorset's Kyal Stephen Smith. He has kindly told me I can post his work here. Thanks for that.
You don't get to see things like this if you are in the cities. There is just too much ground light pollution, and the beauty of it gets scrubbed out. But up here, the nights are brilliant. The full moon will mean lousy star-gazing because it is so bright it will fade out the stars, but you just can't beat a night up here for Moon-gazing! And when the moon phases through to the darkest of nights, the stars will come into their own.
Last autumn, we had guests here from Israel. When they returned from a day in Algonquin Park, they came out with me to look at the stars, and howl for the wolf pack. The wolf pack, (thank you, guys!) obliged with a fabulous answering howl, which had our guests practically jumping up and down with excitement. But the telling moment for me was when the grandfather, well into his 70's... closing in on the 80's, said softly, "In all my life, I have never seen the Milky Way."
It was arching above us, a ribbon of stars, from Cassiopeia to Sagittarius. It was (and is) beautiful, and seen through binoculars, it will knock your socks off. Earlier this year, photographer Harold Doran gave us permission to use one of his photos -- taken in Algonquin Park, of the Milky Way,
We sometimes take this beauty in our skies for granted, but we should never do that. "In all my life," he said... What a thing to miss because of the city lights??? Put the night skies on your bucket list... Put the long night moon on your bucket list...
Get out, and turn off the lights...
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