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Poor Will's Almanack: January 17 - 23, 2012

Flick Creative Commons user MGShelton
The Moon in January

Poor Will’s Almanack for the Third Week of January, the Third Week of Deep Winter.

On January 23, just a few days away, the Singing Cardinal Moon, the first complete moon of 2012, will become new, initiating a whole series of moons that map out the year before us. This Singing Cardinal Moon, of course, brings cardinals into song all across the country.

And by the time those birds are fully engaged in marking their territories, it will be time for the Red-Winged Blackbird Moon, the first moon of Early Spring.

March's moon is the Cabbage Butterfly Moon, the moon that brings the first butterflies, and flowering trees as well.

April brings the Frog and Toad Mating Moon. May's moon is the Black Swallowtail Moon, the moon that brings the early peak of butterfly time.

June brings fireflies to warmer and wetter areas under the Firefly Moon.

July's moon is the Monarch Butterfly Moon.

August's moon is the Hickory Horned Devil Moon - named for the fearsome, but harmless caterpillar of the Regal Moth.

September's moon is the Cobweb Moon that presides over the peak of spider web abundance. October's moon is the Robin Migration Moon, shining down not only on robins but on almost all the autumn migrants. November brings the Deer Mating Moon and December the Crow Gathering Moon.

All these moon names are arbitrary designations I use in my 2012 Almanac. They are different from the names in other Almanacs. And, if you do your own naming, they could be different from the ones you choose.

Naming is, after all, one of our jobs on earth, finding the story of each piece of time and shaping it in our own image and likeness.

Next week on Poor Will’s Almanack: notes for the First Week of Late Winter. In the meantime, go ahead. Name a moon. You can do it.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.