The March full moon is called the Worm Moon. The Algonquin tribe - mostly in Quebec but extending in the United States from Virginia west to the Rocky Mountains - gave this month's moon the name. Supposedly the anticipation of a warming earth and the prospect of earthworms and the expected return of robins, was the genesis.
But the robin's breast this night is carried by the moon itself, a rusty red when I saw it first begin to rise from my seat on the sofa. I have a front-row seat to these eastern events without so much as standing up.
I had watched for moonrise as I knew this was the night of the full moon. I walked a time or two to the back door and watched the sun put itself to bed. I knew that as the sun set, the full moon would rise. And so I'd peak through the curtains and watch the distant line of trees (about half a mile away) for some sign of light.
At first there was nothing and then, when I turned away from the television and looked again, the moon had risen to my west-northwest, etched behind a tangle of trees.
This is what I first saw, a golden moon just visible among the branches of a tree between Pinehaven and Venus Road. The scene was still fairly bright, the sun just set as far below the western horizon as the moon had risen above the eastern one. It is a balancing act, these full moon nights, the moon and sun exactly opposite in the sky.
No worms tonight. The snow-covered fields are colder than ice, and the temperature is already skidding down through the teens. It will bottom out at +4° by morning as the moon sets and the sun rises, a convenient switch, a celestial balancing act.
All the night, our Pipe Brigade activated (if you do not know what that is, you have not read Pinehaven), I am bedded down on the living room floor, Mom's goose-down quilt feathered across me, as warm as can be. From that vantage point I watch the moon lift into the clear sky and marvel at its now-white light trace an arc across the floor. I'm up at 2 a.m. and again at 5 a.m., checking that the pipes still flow with liquid water. All is well.
When the next full moon graces our skies - April's Pink Moon on the fourth - I expect that the need to babysit the pipes will be well past. By then the average temperature will have risen from 35° to 47° and spring will be underway. The earthworms will be burrowing. The robins will have returned.