I woke up a bit earlier than usual the other morning.  From my vantage point on Smith Ridge Road, I watched the snow glistening under a full moon as it set over Oenoke Ridge.

December’s full moon has been known as the Cold Moon or the Long Night’s Moon, a name attributed to Native Americans. The Long Night’s Moon aptly earns its moniker because it is in view longer than any other full moon of the year. Timed to the beginning of winter, the Long Night’s Moon, rises and sets on, or close to, the longest night of the year — the winter solstice.

I like to think that over three hundred years ago, Chief Ponus and his son Oenoke would have had similar views of a beautiful Long Night’s Moon, as they looked west from the ridges along the New Canaan roads that now bear their names. At the intersection of Ponus Ridge and Davenport Ridge, a monument stands to memorialize Chief Ponus, the sachem of Rippowam.

Another kind of memorial to New Canaan’s early ancestors can be found just down the road. On the front perimeter of the New Canaan Land Trust’s Colhoun Meadow, you’ll find a beautifully restored stonewall that harkens to our agrarian past and serves as a welcoming gateway to New Canaan. (Thanks to your help and that of many volunteers, the Land Trust was able to complete the restoration of this landmark last year).

In 2020, with your support, we will be creating new “monuments” of our own.


To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the New Canaan Land Trust, in partnership with the Carriage Barn Arts Center, has created a 4-month outdoor art installation called the New Canaan Sculpture Trail.  This exhibition will feature up to eight juried-sculptures placed on NCLT preserves and in the courtyard of the Carriage Barn.

By joining art and nature, we expect that the New Canaan Sculpture Trail will inspire widespread interest in our preserves, and in New Canaan. These sculptural monuments will introduce new gateways that beckon visitors to our town. Modern artistic monuments will complement both the beauty of our preserves and the history of our town. As we look forward to this innovative program, we are thankful for the generous support of Harlan and Lois Anderson Foundation, which, as the lead sponsor, has helped make possible this significant exhibition.

On these short daylight days, we are invigorated by your support and to look ahead to a new year and new celebrations. 

From all of us at the New Canaan Land Trust, we wish you a happy holiday season.

Tom Cronin
Board President
New Canaan Land Trust