April 2016
News from Norway

Dear lovers of the wilds, fellows, friends!

Since Equinox last week, the days are longer than the nights. The sun climbs higher on the sky from day to day, and it wipes the snow off the valleys. Higher up the firn covers the country like a firm crust, but even there do snowless spots pop up. The nights continue to be icy, so warmth and cold struggle for dominance, remainig in a temporary stalemate.

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A special full moon

By night, the firn glows silvery in the light of a now waning moon. Last week, full moon and Equinox nearly coincided. This made the moon follow the sun’s course precisely. That’s quite an exraordinary event, as grandmother Moon uses to dance around brother Sun’s path. Did you notice that?

You’ve surely made that same experience. You were outdoors for a while, and suddenly stop short: there’s the moon up on the sky as if it had appeared all at once. Only few people are naturally aware of the moon’s position. It’s not easy for us to follow, as its dance is following two different rhythms: its own phases and the yearly solar cycle, which it yet completes in just a month. Confusing, right?

Its own slower cycle makes the moon fall further behind the sun from day to day. At new moon, they stand close toghether. The next day, the moon is a step behind the sun. Then we can see the narrow crescent in the last glow after sunset. Where will the half moon be a week later, at sunset? And where the full moon after another week? Find it out for yourself!

The solar cycle on the other hand defines how high the moon will climb up upon the sky. Let’s start again at new moon: the moon stands close to the sun, and at the same height as the sun. New moons always stick to the actual solar course – high in summer, low in winter. A full moon stands opposite the sun, with the Earth in between them. It then stands as high as the sun does in the opposite season: in winter high, in summer low. During one monthly cycle, the moon’s course swings in between these extremes, from the current solar course height at new moon to the height the sun takes at the opposite time of the year at full moon, and back again.

The moon's courses throughout the year (picture)

In wintertime, it looks like this: The new moon follows the current low path of the sun. While waxing the moon climbs to higher positions from day to day. The full moon reaches the sun’s summer height. While waning, the height decreases newly.

In summer, the new moon moves high on the sky, following the summer course of the sun. Then the height reduces towards the sun’s low winter height. After full moon the height raises again.

The swinging is most distinctive at solstice. Around equinox it flattens out. And only if full moon and equinox coincide, the moon walks on the path the sun went on ahead.

Living further south, you have the chance to observe the moon’s dance at warm summer nights; here in the North, moon and stars will soon fade in the brightsummer nights. Watch out for grandmother moon – it’s worth it!

Awakening of the Brown Bears

The stars will soon fade away in the light summer nights, but the bears will show up soon: the swedish bear researchers expect the bears’ reawakening from hibernation soon. Probably next week the very first brown bears will leave their den! It’s an exciting event even for the researchers; how the bears got on while hibernating, stays hidden to them, too. So today, I can’t talk about which of the sows gave birth to a litter and how many cups there might be.

Anyway, the cups should now be about two months old, and have grown quite a bit. Mind you, while hibernation the mother feeds their cups from her own body reserves alone; what the cups gain, the mother looses. Adult bears loose about the third part of their body weight during winter, and at the end their fur flaps around the bones.

One might think, that the bears would be famished then and gorge themselves to overcome the shortage. Yet they don’t care so much for food: they start eating ants, fresh grasses and lingonberries left over from last year. They won’t gain weight again before autumn, when preparing for a new hibernation – feeding on the then fresh berries.

 

BROTHER BEAR Forest Camp Sweden (picture)

BROTHER BEAR Forest Camp Sweden

For 10 days in June, we’ll set up camp close to one of the bears’ dens. I’m really looking forward to what we can learn from the brown bears over there. By then, the cups will have grown so far, that they’ll have left the area in company of their mother. We won’t disturb them, but will still find a lot of tracks to get deep insight into the bears’ lives.

By the way, I’ll soon join in on a course with Jon Young, who then will be back from his annual stay with the San bushmen in Botswana. The San keep one of the oldest hunter-gatherer-cultures alive to this day. They are an unestimable source of wisdom about tracking and living in connection. I’m gladly looking forward to share some of this knowledge at the BROTHER BEAR Forest Camp.

BROTHER BEAR will be held in German as communication language, but you’re welcome as an English speaker as well (translation will be provided). For detailed information in English please take contact via email (mail@wildernesslife.no) or my contact form:

 

Wilderness Life is on facebook! (Bild)

Wilderness Life on facebook

Recently Wilderness Life has got on facebook. On facebook I’ll post latest news about wilderness and nature connection, and stuff Wilderness Life is concerned about in a broader sense. Come, visit:

If you like it, give both posts and page a ‘like’, share it with others and hang on. Help me to spread the news. Thank you!

I’ve also decided to publish my newsletters in an English version from now on (this is issue #1). I’ll feature special stories about the wilds, upcoming events at Wilderness Life and tips how to connect with nature. Feel free to share this newsletter with others. If you don’t get it already, just register at:

You find detailed information about program and profile of Wilderness Life on this website, and I’m shortly going to upgrade the English pages to a full version.

Enjoy springtime and mind the moon!

Best regards from Norway

Thoralf

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PS: I’m sorry for the speech mistakes you may have noticed: I’m not a native speaker and still training.