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The Gathering Moon

A gorgeous full harvest moon has just passed here in the Canadian part of the Northern Hemisphere. The autumn equinox which just occurred, is part of the solar not lunar cycle, part of the relation between the sun and earth’s axis. This slow rotation between the dark part of the year and the light part of the year creates the seasons, more pronounced further away from the equator. Twice a year, no matter where any of us live, we have approximately 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night.

Equinox and harvest time, the solar and lunar cycles, are ineluctably linked. The moonrise coming over the horizon is closest in time to the sunset, giving it the large size and orange coloring for several evenings. This phenomenon enabled those working in the fields to have extra harvest time, in the days before electrical lights. The color of the moon can be accentuated by the dust of harvest time, particularly if you are near grain farms, as you are looking at the moon through a denser atmosphere with more suspended particles.

In the autumn season, growth slows all around us. While the sunlight has been decreasing since the

solstice, it is far more noticeable now. Many changes are triggered at this time…from the color of the leaves when the shorter days signal a slowing and end to chlorophyll production…to the harvesting of animals as they prepare for a long winter. For instance, trees shed leaves that could be damaged by frost and snow and send the sugars and nutrients down into the roots for storage until warmer weather and both rain and melting retriggers sap flow.

Today, we were thrilled to see a family of black bears, a mother and two rotund cubs, up in a big old apple tree, eating off the tree as well as swatting branches of apples down to the ground. They moved up and down the trunk and as far out on the limbs as they could. Mama bear even stood on the top board of the yard’s fence with all four paws and like a gymnast, went up on her two back paws to reach the apples with her fore paws. When they had their feed, part of their winter preparation, they moved over the fence effortlessly and onto the next yard.