I had been especially looking forward to two things this past weekend, aside from the chance to relax and spend time in the company some delightful friends and JT. One was assured, and that was to swim in the lake, rain or shine. The other, knowing there would be a full moon, was to spend some time basking in her blue radiance.
On Saturday night, the moon was not only full, but there was a thin ring around its edge that was intensely bright. It looked like she was wearing a circlet. A humble crown, something she was allowed to wear only occasionally.
Four of us had sat on the dock after dinner, first facing west to watch the sunset, which was pretty but not spectacular. It was partially obscured by our tiny island, and the sky is not as big on a lake as it is by the ocean. No matter. Once the sun had set we turned 180 degrees to face the east in hopes of watching the full moon rise.
How is it that in the same small sky it can be clear in the west and cloudy in the east? I don’t know, but it was cloudy in the eastern sky and with a few “oh wells” two people folded up their chairs and headed back to the house to join the party. I lingered and TT lingered with me. I mewed with disappointment a few times even though I knew there was nothing he could do about the moon and clouds, and even though it seemed apparent that she would not be allowed an appearance so early in the night sky, I watched and hoped. Finally I took the hint, folded my own chair and made my way off the dock, up the stairs and back to the house where folks were drinking after-dinner tea and enjoying friendly conversation. Two were playing solitaire.
I made a cup of tea in one of the brown mugs. It had a long story to tell from its decades of being on this island. How many times had that mug been chosen from the line of them hanging on hooks at the front of the glass-faced cabinet? How many lips have kissed its smooth edge to sip a hot cup of tea? How many times had this mug been the vessel which carried a morning brew or a moonlight elixir? Hands had held this mug close to someone’s chest for warmth. It wasn’t a beautiful mug, but it was a faithful one, never jumping off its hook or off the edge of the table because it wasn’t good enough or as beautiful as the other mugs. Truth be told, none of the mugs were beautiful, so this one had no worry on that account.
On Saturday night this mug knew my disappointment when the full moon failed to appear, and it let me sooth my chilled lips on its glazed rim. The cup didn’t know I was watching the sky as I caressed its bumpy exterior with heat-seeking fingertips. It would not have known that as I sipped, my sights were over the far rim and set on the eastern sky where the moon was hiding.
Undress yourself, Moon!
I want to see you naked and smiling.
Pay no mind to the others, for they don’t even look at you or wonder at your mysterious pull on the waters, your power over our imagination. And I, who loves you, see only your radiance paying no mind to your mottled, scarred surface. My own body, in your muted glow, is flawless, no longer human, and free from the marks of birthing a child. The gravity which draws my aging breasts toward their mother earth, is suspended in the light of your fullness.
You make me sigh, Miss Moon, and you make me wonder at what is beyond what we know. You lead me to a place of quiet inner song. And just between you and me, Miss Moon, you have been the twinkle in many a father’s eye and the source of many a mother’s sigh, with your crystal blue light showing the way for egg and sperm, then your tidal pull drawing many a newborn babe through the waters onto the hard rocky terrain of our planet.
I wished as I sipped my tea.
Gratefully I can report that my disappointment was taken into account, and after a while I noticed a shift in the color of the sky, and I quietly crept down to the dock, chair in hand, not wanting to scare her away. TT followed, and without words, we reclined on the dock in our low-slung chairs, and without so much as a sigh, the lunar maiden of the night began to blow the clouds away from her face and there she hung in the black ink sky.
It’s hard to say if she could see this audience of two, but we saw her, and she slowly let the light splay out before her. She sent beams of light toward the lake, and they danced on the water with their shimmering reflections. It was a dance unaccompanied by any human sound; they moved to their own cosmic rhythm, a little unsteady in its beat. The water looked as if it were being tickled by the soft fingertips of the moonbeams. I listened to the beating of my heart and the hush of air passing through my throat, gently in and gently out.
There’s something about the silence of the night sky. It cries out for music, yet any earthly instrument seems discordant, and I was grateful that for those few minutes no one on the lake had their volume set so high that others could hear it.
The breeze finally grew cooler than my jeans and sweatshirt could deflect, so after a while we folded our chairs and worked our way back up to the cabin, returning to the hum of soft laughter, good cheer, and gentle friends.