Known as the “snow guardian,” billy barr has lived alone for over 40 years in a remote cabin in one of the coldest regions of the U.S. The lone resident of Gothic, Colorado, a ghost town since the 1920s, barr (who prefers the lower case spelling) spends his days reading, sipping tea, watching Bollywood films – and, in the winter, checking snow levels twice a day. His notebooks, filled with carefully recorded measurements over four decades, have provided scientists with a treasure trove of weather and climate trends – including the effects of global warming.

A nature and animal lover, barr said he started recording the weather mainly because it gave him something to do. Up till recently, the only social interaction barr experienced was when he skied into a nearby town for supplies every few weeks. Yet now he’s in the public eye, thanks to Morgan Heim of Day’s Edge Productions, who made an award-winning five-minute film about the articulate hermit. In it, barr admits he’s not very hopeful about our ability to reverse the alarming climate trends he has documented. Yet he soldiers on as guardian of the snow, living a life most would find unbearably lonely, and taking a pragmatic approach to whatever difficulties he faces. For instance, he says, “I learned how to ski better so I wouldn’t fall down all the time. Learning how to fall is the most important thing. It’s a lot easier falling on your butt than your face.”

Wise advice at any time, but especially for Thursday’s Cancer Full Moon (Jan. 12, 3:34 a.m. PST). This Full Moon forges a dynamic cardinal grand cross with take-no-prisoners Pluto, I’ll-do-it-my-way Uranus, and let’s-learn-from-this Jupiter – all catalyzing the sensitive Cancer Moon and stoic Capricorn Sun. There is the potential for life-changing awakenings and developments, but also for sudden upsets. Rather than succumbing to fear, stay as patient and calm as possible regardless of what others may say or do. Try to harness the power of this fertile action period, which falls on the heels of mover-and-shaker Mercury’s direct turn, to achieve your goals.

Like billy barr, you may need to practice your falling technique as you forge ahead. As astrologer April Elliott Kent put it in a recent essay, “I think we miss something in trying to inoculate ourselves from life’s difficulties.” This Full Moon, she adds, is “a reminder that in order to best enjoy life’s tenderest pleasures, we often must first confront the gargoyles of pain and fear.”

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