Tonight is the largest appearing moon of the year, here in our corner of Massachusetts. Maybe everywhere? I’m not an astronomy buff, but I am a bit moon crazy. To top it off, temperatures have just dipped their toes below zero F. Last night as the moon rode high in a mirror clear sky, I was catapulted into a memory from college days. Nineteen years old, full of passion for making things happen in the world. I had joined the ranks of those launching the very first “hunger walks” across the country. Working with the JFK inspired Freedom from Hunger Foundation, my roommate Carol and I had already organized the first Connecticut walk, while nearby in Boston, friends organized the first Boston Hunger Walk.
On a frigid weekend, Carol and I gathered with two other optimists, Michael and Phil, for a sort of planning retreat–though it was nothing like the super organized events that go on today–at Phil’s parents’ home in Southbury, Connecticut. The night of our arrival, Phil regaled us with a description of a perfect tobogganing hill just down the road a bit from his house. Being nineteen, and oblivious to the gravity of common sense, we suited up in layers of warm clothes and set out with the toboggan. It was midnight, just hovering at 20 degrees. The moon was full. Sky a scrim of blue-black shine. The hill, a long slow descent.
I don’t recall much of the organizing talk that weekend–we did make plans for our first Storrs to Hartford walk — a foot-punishing 26 miles. What stays with me is the sublime clarity of rushing down a hill, huddled with three friends, only feeling the cold as we began the long walk back. Snow stretched out like a glittered blanket. The moon lit our path. The wind was at our back, as says the Irish proverb.
Two of those moonstruck fellow travelers are still in my life, Carol Wolter-Gustafson and Michael Seltzer. Maybe one of these days through the magic reach of FB, I’ll find Phil again. I no longer have a toboggan, and admit to checking the outside thermometer before venturing out these days. However, the moon strikes full each month, inspiring me with its audacity. See for yourself. Step outside, no matter the temperature!