[as promised] I.
… another one of those things I fear I will never be able to capture.
Take tonight, for example: the moon, technically a waxing crescent, rises late as summer becomes fall. But more accurately, a bright peel of the celestial citrus. And by that I mean the sideways grin of some Cheshire. So bright and full of mischief that its light reflects off the sky around it. As if the air were water. And come to think of it, this is the moon of Wynken’, Blynken’, and Nod. A wooden-shoe-of-a-moon. So big and sickled a thousand smallish fellows could certainly sail it.
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring-fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we,”
That thing rises big here. There is so much distance from the edge of the earth to the sky’s zenith that the orb bulges above the horizon. It shines so intensely you can see each ray of light emanating off it – like the ripples from a pebble dropped in a pond.
See, the sky IS the ocean. The air, water so deep and dark that you can sail for days and live only off the silver fish of stars and milky moonlight.
A few days ago the moon was full. Full, it seemed, for days. It lit the night in a pale false dawn. It shone through my window and woke me up. Somehow. I walked out in its light and needed nothing else to see clearly every single stone on the hill, every single one of the densely packed bristles on the juniper trees. The mountains to the north and east tacked themselves on the horizon in front of a sky illuminated from all sides. A second day.
I walked in the light of the moon, and turned back only because the trail ran out.
It is a strange feeling being woken by the moon. And those bright nights I dreamt anxious dreams and woke to sunlight tired; as if I had kept walking, drawn by the blue-grey light and moon-shadows.
The other night, when the moon was near-full but waning, the world lost one of its more terrestrial beauties — a person dear to me, and more importantly, the most dear to one of my closest friends.
The moon was there that night, hanging heavy behind a tattered veil of clouds. I watched the clouds move, carry their dark streaks across its face. Clear quartz moonlight eeked past. I worried that the moon might be engulfed by these clouds, rudely and brutally snuffed out, as if it were nothing more than the flame from a match in a wind-storm.
But as the clouds seem always to do here, they passed.
In the light of that brave, triumphant moon — now high in the sky, smaller but brighter for its journey — I searched for that dear one. I may have found her. If not in the endless pool of the moon, then in the billions of stars in the milky way, or somewhere in a nebula too faint to see. Or better still, in the dark spaces between — the deep endlessness that only exists because of the light, its opposite.
Maybe some of the people out here are right. The earth is a bowl, holding us all. And the sky is a great basket, its stars the light shining through the gaps.
As for the moon … Well, I haven’t yet heard. But I think I’ll be inclined to believe it when I do.