Saturday 29 May 2010

May’s Full Moon

'Full Moon over Kilauea' by Jules Tavernier  - oil on canvas 1887
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Child Moon
The child's wonder
At the old moon
Comes back nightly.
She points her finger
To the far silent yellow thing
Shining through the branches
Filtering on the leaves a golden sand,
Crying with her little tongue, 'See the moon!'
And in her bed fading to sleep
With babblings of the moon on her little mouth.
Carl Sandburg 1878 – 1967
Quite why May's New Moon should be called the 'Milk Moon' I don't know. Could it be that it coincides with the cows being turned out to pasture from their winter quarters? I think they may go out earlier so perhaps by May the milk is reflecting the benefits of fresh Spring grass.
I can understand the moon being called the 'Planting Moon' for May is the month in which many seeds are planted though I suspect it may derive from farming lore. We did a lot of planting a few days ago and already the flowering plants have put their feet down and lifted their heads and many of the seeds are germinating. The goldfish and rudd in the pond are becoming very active, racing to the surface for their food and flicking their tails to dive again, so a different sort of planting will be taking place soon – or rather a sowing of seed. Not much of the spawn survives – it is laid and then eaten by the prospective parents, the resident frogs and newts, developing dragonfly larvae (these somewhat unattractive creatures are known as 'nymphs' – isn't that picturesque?) and visiting crows and magpies. Those few eggs that go on to hatch must still elude the snapping jaws of the community they hope one day to join. We usually see two or three baby fish each year and there is little fear of the pond being choked with half-starved fish - the numbers have not increased dramatically over the years.
'Flower Moon' is an equally appropriate name for the May full moon. The garden is alive with colourful blooms and a thousand buds foretell the blaze that will erupt in June.

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