Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

By the Light of the Moon

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

By the Light of the Moon

Article excerpt

This year, I've noticed on the milk-room calendar, the winter solstice coincides with a full moon. I find it comforting to think that the seasons will shift in its aura - that the year's shortest day might, if the night is clear, be lengthened lightwise by the bright face of our companion satellite.

I keep aware of the moon's phase and path, not only in winter, when I need all the light I can get, but all year round. It's a rare week I don't notice its waxing or waning, and I follow its course closely enough to know, even before glancing up of an evening, just about where it will be and how full.

Watching the moon during my occasional evening milkings, I can follow its rise through the branches of nearby sycamores and cedars, and watch it move edgewise across the sky - an exercise as centering and quietly satisfying as tending the animals below.

If this is not a widely shared vision of entertaining nightlife, I know that I am not alone in my preoccupations. Upon exiting the milking parlor, the cows sometimes key into the moon, too. They often lift their heads under the pearly gleam of a full moon, as if seeking answers to age-old questions. In their own way, perhaps they are.

Of course, I don't know what they may be thinking, but they seem neither addled nor agitated - just at ease and thoughtfully attentive as the soft light halos their upturned ears. This is bovinity at its best. The one animal that may act up under the full moon is Ben, our big black Percheron draft horse who tends to be volatile when the moon is full - or new - or at any stage of crescent. It's just how he is; he needs no celestial prompt.

Sometimes, especially in winter when I am inside more, I lose track of the moon for a few days. When I remember with a start to take note of it and look up, it feels a little like checking on a sleeping child. …

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