"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December moon

"December Moon," 5 by 7 watercolor card
Super moon this week. But isn't every moon super in some way?
   December--The last full moon of the year, marking  time for humans since there have been humans. A time to reflect at year's end about the passing of time, of lives and journeys past and present.
   Tide maker--both in the oceans and in our moods, ebbing and flowing as it swings across the sky. 
   Memory maker--turning night into day as it awakens thoughts and imagination. The opening verses of the song "Memory" from Cats captures that haunting effect so well.
   The moon and I go way back.
 (Following is a snippet from a long-ago unfinished novel.)  

    “Time for the moon.” He rose, poured a last cup of coffee, grabbed his binoculars off the kitchen cabinet, and opened the back door.
    The swollen moon inched above the silhouetted house-tops and cap rock, as he walked out on the wooden deck.
   “The first time I remember seeing Aunt Sissie was when she showed me the moon,” he thought, putting the coffee down on a table, and lifting the 7 x 50 binoculars to his eyes.
   At least, he thought he remembered the dark shadows of summer-thick bushes and trees rising above him on the sidewalk,  the black bulk of nearby buildings framing a few yellow-lit apartment windows, the huge round silver-white face in the dark Dallas sky reflecting its light off her equally round, kind face.
   “Maybe it’s just that I heard Mom and Dad tell me about it; how Sissie would take me for a night-time walk and show me the moon; how I’d reach my little hands and stubby fingers for it; and how she’d tell Mom, ‘Well, Faye, get it for him.’”
   The full moon always made him talk to himself, he thought.     “I know they told me Aunt Sissie would take me out in a baby carriage, but seeing the moon seems fresher somehow. Mom and Dad might have told me about it, but they wouldn’t add the details about the shawls and lights.
   “But when someone pays you a lot of attention at that age, and in later years you hear your folks talk about it, and then, decades later, when you go back to view the old black and white snapshots crowding family albums, what you remember and what you’ve heard sort of melt together, like the moonlight reflecting on her face that night in Dallas.”
   Aunt Sissie was his favorite aunt, and even now, years after she died of cancer, when the moon jogged his memory, his throat thickened, and his eyes would water.
   “Let him reach for it, Miss Vera,” was his mother’s reply to the quip about getting the moon for him. That’s what Sissie told him years later.
   “Seems like you’ve been reaching every since,” she chuckled. He didn’t know if it was a blessing or a curse, or both. Maybe that was the key. Always reaching, challenged by some remote destination; yet, once attained, never satisfied. Easily bored when the newness wore off and routine set in. A journalist’s life was at once a sop and a sentence.
   He treasured the full moon and moonlight, especially shining through the edges of swiftly moving clouds, or circled through the haze of thin high ice-clouds. The Apollo missions  years ago  captivated him. Now he rarely let a month go by without viewing the acne-scarred face through his binoculars. The full moon provoked his imagination, his memories, his fantasies, helping him write.
   The moon seemed to transform everything with a magic glow--landscapes, buildings, plants, mountains, a  woman's smooth skin--things he could never quite get enough of--things he couldn’t seem to quite reach and possess, any more than he could reach the moon. But he kept reaching like the little boy who had vainly reached to touch the strange light in the sky.
   "It pulls me like the tide.” His tight spinal muscles relaxed as he lowered the binoculars and sipped the coffee. 

   He heard the phone ringing inside the house, interrupting his thoughts. Resentfully, turning to go in, he glanced at the sky once more. “C’mon, babe, I want you.”

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