The Full Beaver Moon and Penumbral Eclipse

Drawing of the Beaver moon, a brown beaver swimming with a branch through a pond, but the pond is also the moon. Art by Anna Loscotoff, 2020

Castor Canadensis

Safely back in the lodge

Living room you share

A lunch of bark

Golden sharp teeth peeling it skillfully

From the young branch

Before grinding it between your molars

Later that now naked limb will be carefully

Added in to the new structure

Your beaver family has begun work on

Andrea Schwenke Wyile

As I sat outside this Thanksgiving, keeping social distance while still enjoying a small gathering of family, I watched as the V formation of geese flew overhead, honking as they make their way south on their winter migration. The geese remind us of the transition of seasons, always having their own clocks, their own maps, oftentimes using the light of the moon to guide them on their way.  

November’s moon is called the Full Beaver moon.  The beaver is settling down, not for hibernation, but storing food for a long winter within their lodges.  Lack of food in winter, as well as frozen lakes and ponds, force the beaver to prepare.  Their pelts are also at their thickest and most luxurious, making this time of year optimal for hunters.  

November’s full moon is also called the Geese Going Moon (as we watch them fly over in their formations), the Frost Moon, the Freezing Moon, and sometimes the Digging (or Scratching) Moon, as animals are scratching through the fallen leaves, trying to find the last bits of growth before winter.  

The moon will hit her fullest at 1:30 in the AM on the morning of November 30th.  Watch for her the night of November 29th, as she will be on the cusp of her peak.

Not living in an area with beaver, but connecting so deeply with birds, I think Geese Going Moon resonates with me the most deeply. Which of the moon names do you relate to?

Two sounds of Autumn are unmistakable…

The hurrying rustle of crisp leaves

Blown along the street…

By a gusty wind

And the gabble of a flock

Of migrating geese.

– Hal Borland – 

A moon nearing the full rises behind the red leaves of a fall tree.  Photo by Anna Loscotoff, Nov 2020
The moon, near the full, rises behind the changing colors of a tree in Autumn. Photo by Anna Loscotoff, 2020

The Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse’s are not what we imagine when we hear the word eclipse, their isn’t the dramatic disappearance of the moon, the way we often think of a full solar eclipse.  The moon doesn’t change to deep red, the way it will in a total lunar eclipse.  What you will see, however, is what appears to be a slight shadow on the upper rim of the moon.  There may be a slight change in color, depending on weather, from grey to brown or even a yellow hue.  

The penumbral eclipse will last for just over 4 hours on the morning of November 30th, however the best time to see it is within a 40 minute window, from around 1:24 am (PST) until 2:04 am, with the peak of eclipse falling around 1:44 in the am.

If you stay up to watch the eclipse, I’d love to know what it looked like for you.  We’re you able to see earth’s shadow? What colors did you see?


About the American Beaver

Busy beavers plan ahead for long cold winter

Castor Canadensis Poem

How do geese know to fly south for the winter?

Lunar eclipses: What are they & when is the next one?

Look for November’s Full Beaver Moon

A Beaver Full Moon lunar eclipse occurs Monday. Here’s what to expect

November’s Beaver Full Moon 2020: See a lunar eclipse and a near-minimoon

If you are new here, my most important blog

Ritual of the Full Moon

I think of the full moon as a time of letting go.  As the moon loses her roundness, so we release the things that no longer serve us.  

  • Think about the things that are no longer serving you, the things that are hurting you, the things you no longer need in your life.
  • Write the things you wish to let go on small slips of paper or bay leaves.
  • Using a fire safe bowl in a fire safe space, a fire pit, a fireplace, burn these things that you wish to release.  
  • Watch the flame, thinking about these weights being released from you. 
  • When the fire has been extinguished, your thoughts burned, reground with a bit of chocolate, or in honor of the Harvest Moon, hot cider, cinnamon, or tree nuts. 

What is NaNoWriMo?

The sunset on November 1, 2020. There are some dark silhouetted clouds with a bit of orange color on the horizon. Photo by Anna Loscotoff.

Welcome to November and National Novel Writing Month! Yep, you heard that right, National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. This is the month where hundreds of thousands of writers from all around the world come together to write, to let go of their inner critic, to start on the first draft of a new novel, to complete 50,000 words in 30 days. But it’s not just for adults, NaNoWriMo also offers a Young Writer Program where children under the age of 18 can set their own writing goals for the month of November. NaNoWriMo is a non-profit, it’s a social support network, and it’s a community.

This is my first year of committing to the process. 50,000 words is pretty intimidating! It means writing without editing (I am a constant re-reader and ongoing editor). It means trying to let go of personal judgement (you know that super mean, critical inner voice telling you that you just aren’t good enough? Yeah, it can get pretty loud sometimes.) It means trying not to judge myself when I don’t get to my daily goal of 2,000 words (some days 2,000 words can be easy, and on other’s, it’s a fight of epic proportion.)

It also means supporting my daughter through the process, despite school and anxiety and her own artistic passion projects. What I love above the Young Writers Program is that she can set whatever goal is appropriate for her. You can find the Young Writers Goals here. They receive badges as they go and can type their story directly onto the site. The YWP keeps track of their word count, freeing them up to experiment with their words.

Computer screen shot of my figuring out ages and relationships between characters for NaNoWriMo, 2020.  Photo by Anna Loscotoff.
What do you do when your character has lots of sisters and you need to figure out how they all fit together? Using an age calculator to learn more about their relationships and interactions.

One of the rules of NaNoWriMo is to not start your story until November 1st, but you can lay the groundwork. You can establish the world where your story takes place, your characters, your outline. I didn’t do any of that. I wanted to, but I was stuck with what story I wanted to write. There was the young adult trilogy that has been bouncing around my brain for years. There was the small town ghost story with a tiny bit of history thrown in. There was the graphic pagan romance. Ultimately, I’ve decided on a YA story that links to the middle grade book I’ve been working on.

The middle grade novel, The Mourning Rose, has a little write up here. I’ve been editing this book for forever! And through the editing process I’ve realized, maybe I need to tell Rose’s story first. And once I’ve told her story, perhaps the middle grade it’s based on will grow up too. Perhaps Ellie isn’t 13, perhaps she’s 16 and on a mission of her own.

There is a saying that there are a three of writers: Planners, Pantsers, and recently added, the Plantser. Planners plan their novels, they know where they are headed and how they are going to get there. Pantsers just fly by the seat of their pants. And Plantsers are somewhere in the middle; they think know where they are headed, they have established ideas, but they aren’t afraid to deviate from the path and the book may head in a completely unexpected direction. I would say I’m a Plantser. I know Rose’s story, I know where this story is headed, but I haven’t completely figured out her world yet.

The sun sets with a sky full of grey clouds and wispy white streaks.  A little color from the sunset sits on the horizon.  Photo by Anna Loscotoff.
As the sun sets on November 1st, 2020, we start our NaNoWriMo writing journey. Photo by Anna Loscotoff.

As the sun set on our first day of National Novel Writing Month, I’m already behind. I did not hit my 2,000 word goal. I realized that as I began Rose’s story, she has sisters. She has a lot of sisters. I needed to spend some time with them today, to figure out who they were and how they play into Rose’s story. Once I know them a little better, I will have new characters to write with. Tomorrow I will continue to write, off on my journey of 50,000 words.


Join us on this journey at NaNoWriMo

The Young Writers Program at YWPNaNoWriMo

Why is this under the Daily Sunset category?