Hunger Moon

[Image Description: Black and white photo of the moon with some tree branches in the foreground. (This photo was actually take the day before the full moon, as we had rain here on the night of the full moon that prevented me from capturing a good photo.)]

Yesterday’s full moon,
the Hunger Moon,
brought to mind
words from scripture
that tell us those who
hunger and thirst for righteousness
will be blessed.

A wise teacher taught me
a way to think of righteousness is
“to be in right relationship,”
one of the most helpful
teachings I’ve heard in a sermon.

Endless possibilities
for the co-creation of
right relationship—
the earth,
our community,
our neighbor,
the tree outside the window,
the cashier at the supermarket,
the technology we use,
the entertainment we consume—
everyone and everything
we interact with
has potential.

But do we
hunger for that?

Robin Wall Kimmerer
tells us her people,
the Anishinaabe,
called this moon the
Hunger Moon because
“the snow is too deep
and the deer are gone
and the caches are empty…
After too many days,
desperation is the only soup.”

It’s easy to imagine this,
living close to the land and
despite storing up for winter,
running out of resources in the
relentless dormancy of February.

What is difficult to reconcile,
in our times of over-production
to feed over-consumption,
is how many
still live in the shadows
cast by the Hunger Moon,
with desperation their only soup.

How far we are,
as a culture,
from righteousness,
right relationship.

Kimmerer writes
the Anishinaabe
told their children tales of
the Windigo,
a human-turned-monster
who consumes voraciously
to the detriment of all,
without ever being satiated,
to ensure they knew
the dangers of selfishness and excess.

The Hunger Moon
brings reminders
if we pause to ponder,
that we can choose the path
of righteousness,
to live in right relationship,
to hunger together to co-create a reality
where everyone can have
food and safety and joy and enough.

Or we can choose to follow the path
of the Windigo
where all that matters
is our own hunger for more
and what we are able
to consume.

References to Robin Wall Kimmerer’s work are all taken from her book Braiding Sweetgrass, specifically the chapter ‘Windigo Footprints.’ I highly recommend.

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