The Great Dismal Swamp in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina is on fire. An acreage the size of Williamsburg is burning, and is likely to continue to burn for weeks or months. The smoke is so voluminous that it can be seen in satellite photos from space. And this morning, in the early hours, the winds brought that smoke to our town.
In the night, we awoke to the smell of it: campfire and peat, filling the house. At dawn, we saw it at last, blanketing the lake, encircling the trees and houses, and screening the sun, which shone red from behind. Shepherding breezes have prodded much of the smoke onward over the course of the morning, though some haziness and much of its scent still lingers.
We wonder what tonight’s full moon will be like.
The August moon is often known as the Dog Days Moon. The name has origins with the Greeks and Romans, who termed the summer days when the dog star, Sirius, and the sun rose simultaneously in the sky as the Dog Days of Summer, since the event typically occurred between July and September and coincided with the hottest part of the season. It’s interesting to note that this simultaneous rising of Sirius and the sun no longer comes at summer’s peak due to shifts in the Earth’s axis of rotation – and, hence, the dates of the equinoxes – that have occurred since Roman times.
Enjoy the full moon, and remember to kick back to breathe easy on this Code Red day, southeastern Virginia friends!
Tonight holds the full moon of August. To Native American tribes of the Great Lakes region, August’s moon was known as the Sturgeon Moon, as this time of year was prime season for catching sturgeon, a large fish species (up to 6 ft!) once common in the Great Lakes, but sadly now quite rare due to overfishing in the late 1800s.
To Colonial Americans, the moon of August was the Dog Days Moon; to the Cherokee, the Fruit Moon. Both apt names, for certain!
If your skies are clear, be sure to step outside and enjoy the view this evening!