Back a few years ago, we had a period of cold weather that lasted for about a month. The pond had ice on it every day, at least in the parts shaded by trees, the pipe in the pump house burst, and it was ungodly cold all the damn time. This week, we’ve had three days of freezing weather, twenty-eight degrees as a low, and it looks like that’s it for the month of January, 2020. The gnats are back, the mosquitoes were really bad last week, and there’s grass high enough to mow in the yard right now.
The middle of last May was incredibly hot. Not just warm, but triple digit heat in the day, high humidity, and night that were unbearable without AC.
I woke up at four this morning, couldn’t get back to sleep, and decided to get up, and write. Since I retired, there’s been this reoccurring theme from some people that we humans have to have a schedule, and we have to have a routine, because that’s the sort of animals we are. But I haven’t one in over three months, and I’m not looking for one, either. I like the idea of getting out of bed when I can’t sleep and writing. I’m not late for a damn thing, am I?
If I don’t go out with the dogs they’ll U turn, and pretend they peed on the grass, and right after they eat they’ll really have to go. So I go out, in freezing weather, to make sure they pee. They’re all curled up tight and sleeping again right now. But the stars were incredible in the cold early morning darkness, and an orange crescent moon was slung low in the southern sky, barely awake. I couldn’t get a decent photo of it, I wish I had either the equipment or the knowledge for such work, but I rather hone my writing skills than learn photography this morning. The urge to write right now seems urgent.
Decades ago, a few years before I took the job that I would retire from, I worked as a circulation manager for the Valdosta Daily Times. One night I was riding with one of the carriers and saw the moon, a low slung crescent in the night sky, and that was all that mattered at the moment, to see the moon. It’s important to pay attention to what the moon is doing, what the moon is saying at the moment, and acknowledge that everyone on Earth who has ever lived, and had the gift of sight, has seen the same moon. It’s a commonality of humanity. It should be. We should all take time to moon gaze, and it see it as an undying memorial to our endurance. The same magic that early humans felt, long before we landed there, I feel when I look at the slightly orange crescent caught in the branches of the trees around the pond. The magic seeped into my bones as a child and never left me. I feel sorry for those people who never look up, never stop and stare, and never feel the moon.
The crescent will be smaller tomorrow morning. It’s waning, and soon will be a sliver, or a smile, depending on the position. There will be nights of near total darkness and the stars will shine brightly, then the moon will return, again. It matters not at all if I am here to see it, for many more people who stood and enjoyed the view are not here.
Yesterday, I noticed it was six in the afternoon, and not quite yet dark. The days are getting longer, and they have been since the last part of December, but only now has it become noticeable. The sun is also rising further south than before, and now, after enjoying the sunlight reflecting off the moon, I see the eastern sky begin to brighten somewhat. Out in the ocean, on some boat, someone is watching the sunrise, but I must wait awhile yet.
For some reason, I cannot explain to you, a memory summoned to the surface, of a young woman I knew, who liked being in relationships, but also liked cheating. Her boyfriend caught her, confronted her, and she denied it, knowing as long as he didn’t actually see her doing anything, deny, deny, deny. They were in bed having this conversation, and he held her down, handcuffed her hands behind her back, duct taped her feet together, and then tossed her into the trunk of her car. At that point, she was truly afraid he was going to kill her. He took her out in the country, went down a field road, and dumped her on the ground, and drove away. It was below freezing and no matter how loud she screamed, no one came.
An hour so later, he came back, brought her clothes with him, uncuffed and untied her, and he drove her to the police station and got out of the car, and told her he was walking home. She sat there a while, then picked him up, and they stayed together for years after that.
One night she told me that while she was in the field, her naked body lying on the freezing ground, and she was wondering which worst case scenario might occur and cause her untimely death, she looked up at the sky and realized the moon was new, and the stars overhead looked incredible. And for a brief moment in her life, despite the fact that truly believed she was going to die, in one fashion or another, she realized that in that one moment, she defined her ability to rise above her own mortality.
I had never had anyone tell me anything more perfectly beautiful in my life.