While feeding my ponies by the silvery light of the moon is common for me in the evening, this week’s snowstorm has given me reason to feed by moonlight in the early hours of the day. Having snow on the ground gives the moon’s light extra power as it reflects off all the white surfaces.
I especially appreciate snow cover when feeding my dark-colored Fell Ponies. When the ground is bare, they are often able to sneak up on me, but when the ground is white, their contrast with it makes them easy to spot as they approach. Even starlight is enough to see by when the ground has snow on it.
These past few mornings I’ve been out by 6am to give the ponies their first feeding of the day; this morning it was just three degrees, so I was also checking water tanks to see their degree of freeze or thaw. It’s been quite a contrast to thirty three degrees a week ago; I think the ponies are weathering the change better than I am.
Yesterday morning I was fascinated to watch the ponies as the sun came up. They know where in their paddock the sun hits first; the dominant ponies get the prime spots, of course. As the sun climbed the sky, I watched them each move to different spots that had increasing intensity; after these cold nights, those first rays of sun feel awfully good on dark coats, and more is better. I was amazed to feel little Libby’s fur shortly thereafter; it was warm and luxurious, a treat for my chilled fingers to bury themselves in.
About three years ago I learned of Waverly Fitzgerald’s School of the Seasons and her book Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm of Life. In the book, Waverly describes Owls, Larks, and Hummingbirds. Mornings like the last few remind me that I’m more a Hummingbird than the other two. While Owls are relatively nocturnal, turning on late in the day, Larks do best getting an early start because they fade as the day matures. Hummingbirds are a little slow to start, peak during the day, and then peter out slowly as the day wanes. These characterizations have helped me understand my relationship with my husband better, as he is most definitely a Lark. Either end of each day can be a little tense; in the morning his desire to get under way conflicts with me trying to catch a few last moments of rest; in the evening, I’m still going like the Energizer bunny when he’d like to wind things down.
For a Hummingbird, feeding by moonlight in the morning is a bit of a stretch. I have to force myself into work clothes and out the door because it is too easy to find distractions to slow the start of the day. Once I’m outside, the brilliance of the moon’s light and the appreciation of the ponies keeps me going. And if I get back inside before sunup, which is increasingly possible this time of year, I can sort of pretend to start my day anew, at a calmer pace. At least it makes me feel like I got one of the lessons of Slow Time: to appreciate what my relationship with each day is, even if life asks me to perform a little differently.