“This Earth Renewal Moon begins at the time of the winter solstice when Father Sun returns from his journey South and begins to bring the warmth that quickens growth in the Earth Mother and all her children. The mineral totem for the Earth Renewal Moon is the quartz crystal, the plant is the birch tree, and the color is white. The elemental clan influencing this position is the Turtle clan. And the animal is the Snow Goose.”
Conversations in my head keep me from concentrating elsewhere. A shimmer of bright colors like a blinding light inside a cave makes its way in the daybreak. I wait, while standing on the edge of the pond, for the inclination to move. My sketch pad slips slowly from my unsteady fingers like a spring making its way over grass covered rocks as it weaves its way down through a shallow meadow. A dragonfly lights on the corner of a long slender reed. You are confused, my friend. This is not the time of year for you. Winter is still in command of the season.
My eyes sting from the frosty air making a trail of tears on my face and stains of rime. Several times I blink to clear my vision because clarity will give me my cause, my reason for waiting in the bitter season frothing in the cold. I know they are there hidden somewhere in the camouflage of snow and the pale white fog of the earth’s icy breath. Will I ever be warm again?
What brings them here to this place? It owns no claim to fame or special favor. It is not unlike any other body of water. There is nothing here to draw from the heart an unwavering and steadfast desire making it impossible not to pass by. What tugs at the heartstrings tangling them up in this massive movement to be here … at this place … at the same time every year?
I laugh at the irony. Am I not also caught up in the desire to be here now? My own craving for a glimpse of the migration of pure beauty brings me back from reality to insanity; my passionate, zealous and fiery insanity. The artist is a fool whose blood boils red hot when confronted with his own concept of art. Familiar with this burning, the feeling flows over me as I anticipate the coming attraction.
Chattering of sound in the distance begins to become more distinct as a cloud of white wings appear in the sky. The pounding in my chest tells me that my heartbeat is accelerating in time with the flapping of the white feathered wings whose edges include a touch of black. The snow geese have arrived!
The point of my pencil does not touch the parchment as I fumble with the leaded stick, not removing my gaze from the sky. I am afraid to let the moment pass only to miss it even though I know the lines that I would sketch would steal the image that is forming in front of me. I cannot bring myself out of this reverie of a dream.
So each year at the time of the Earth Renewal Moon, the first moon of the year and the moon of Waboose, Spirit Keeper of the North, marks the return of the snow goose.
Every year the snow geese return to Middle Creek near Lititz, Pennsylvania. Their arrival begins in the middle of January and they will remain until the end April. When all have arrived there are literally over 100,000 snow geese which cover the lakes in the area surrounding Middle Creek. The sky turns white as they fly from landing to landing. This past weekend I got a small glimpse of this astounding event. About a few hundred snow geese landed in a pond just beyond the lake. Traffic is prohibited on the access roads leading to the pond. This is state game land but is open to hunting for a period of time with restrictions.
(Update: I will add a picture of what I saw later this week. The snows look like a streak of white in the sky and below the tree line. When hunting season is over in April I will return to get up close and personal as the access roads will then be opened to the public)
Snow Goose is the animal totem associated with Earth Renewal Moon. The Snow Goose, a beautiful white bird, has been called “goose from beyond the north wind” because of the direction these geese go when they migrate in the spring.
Some species of snow goose travel 5,000 miles each year, flying in a loose V pattern. The snow geese are very gregarious. It is not unusual to see 20,000 or 30,000 birds all stopping to eat at the same location. At their nesting grounds they show respect for tradition by allowing the experienced nesters to have the first choice of sites. Both goose and gander stay with the eggs.
Snow geese are nitpickers. They will spend hours picking mosquitoes or other insects off each other. Geese have much keener vision than humans do. The snow goose honks but when several thousand geese are approaching, the sound can be mistaken for anything from a pack of wild dogs to yapping coyotes.
Working with the snow goose can teach you about the creative mystery, the universal powers, tradition, perfection, stability, community, ceremony, vision, and evolution.