Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blossom Moon

May Moon Names

Eastern Cherokee moon: Planting Moon
(the strict translation is "the putting it in a hole moon")

Abenaki: Field Maker Moon

Algonquin: When Women Weed Corn

Winnibego: Hoeing Corn Moon

Anishnaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe): Blossom Moon

Apache: Season When the Leaves are Green

Northern Arapaho: When the Ponies Shed their Shaggy Hair

Assiniboine: Idle Moon

Hopi: Month of Waiting

Cree: Frog Month

Kalapuya: Camas Blooming Time

Haidi: Food-Gathering Moon

Creek: Mulberry Moon

Potawatomi and Shawnee: Strawberry Moon

Kiowa: Geese go North

Osage: Moon when the Little Flowers Die

The moon names are thanks to

The full moon fell on Mother's Day this year, which seems particularly apt as mothers all over Vancouver surely dug their hands in the soil this past weekend. The Native American names for the full moon in May cover the range of agricultural and gatherer activities from planting, weeding, and hoeing to waiting and harvesting. The camas are strawberries are blooming here in the north and further south the strawberries and mulberries are ready to eat.

What is blossoming in Vancouver? Today I was heartened to see the queen bumble bees' first children foraging in these rhododendrons in the rain. My neighbour's dogwood blossoms were very interesting to the mason bees yesterday. My lilacs, azaleas, bleeding hearts, and forget-me-nots are blooming. In fact our whole block is heady with the muggy scent of lilac oils and cherry blossoms. The little flowers of the few rosemary plants that survived are blooming, along with lion's bane, anemones, tulips, and scads of fruit trees. There's a lot of pollen and nectar out there now and I fee a huge sense of relief for those foraging bees. Now we need some warm, sunny days for them to get out and about.

Meanwhile, somewhere in North America the ponies are shedding their hair and the geese are heading north. Somewhere the "little flowers" are dying and the new frogs are finding their legs. I am planting, weeding, worrying, trying to believe that my thumb is green and my magic beans will grow. Mothers and gardens: their histories are intertwined as bean vines and sunflower stalks. I have to trust that the sunflowers I planted will take root, tap the fresh May rain out of the rich soil and reach up to the light. The same goes for our son, metaphorically speaking. He's going through a growth spurt right now too.

I think it will be a good year for beespeaking. Now if only I could learn to talk to slugs. I'd send them over to the vacant lot down the street!

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