Outdoors: The moon of wintertime

Dec 16, 2020

Twas in the Moon of Wintertime
When all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead.


The charming Huron Carol uses a French tune, but the lyrics were written during the 1640s by a Jesuit missionary in the Great Lakes region.

In trying to explain the miracle of Christmas to First Nation People, the black-robed father used images from nature.

I rather like his idea that God used birds and angels interchangeably.

The European image of an angel was “a message-carrying singer with feathered wings.”

Throughout history, in both myth and reality, birds have been used to carry messages.
Certainly, during the Moon of Wintertime, most of our songbirds have fled.

The immediate conclusion is that birds can't tolerate the cold, but thanks to layers of down feathers, birds can survive even excruciating weather---if they are able to eat enough food to maintain body heat!

Birds that feed on insects must go elsewhere. Birds that need open water—they migrate.

Seed-eaters and birds that can glean insects from under bark remain, but they do not sing.

Winter birds call.

Songbird choruses are reserved for the breeding season. Bird songs herald the birth of babies.

But now that I hark back to the traditional Christmas story, angel choirs sang to herald the birth of a very special baby.