Saturday, February 7, 2009

Red Moon

I drove in the early morning hours, while the sky still held on tightly to its black and the stars were sparkling, beaming in their true nature as suns. Both hands were on the wheel as my body tilted slightly to the left as I became one with the curve in the road. I stopped as the headlights illuminated a red and white sign. A moment of rest. There were no cops, I was completely alone in the darkness, and I paused. In front of me was the city. Far down the hill, miles into the distance, it was laid out like a softly slumbering child. The street lamps flickered, soothing vibrations of light drifted towards me, like the stars high above that I could never reach, even if I drove for a thousand years. The houses were just faint ghosts in the darkness, un-aided by the bits of light from the street or heavens. I could vaguely distinguish the soft rolling hills that made the floor of the city. I could sense the whispers of houses, condensed together, side by side, it was just the gentle rise and fall of little boxes that revealed the quiet hills. Even from my height, the freeway was an obvious snake of electric lights. I could not hear the mechanical river, but headlights appeared sporadically every couple of seconds, unimpeded in their journey forward. The train station paralleled the freeway, cutting through the city with its silenced roar of regular intervals. I could see the linear track, outlined and quietly resting in the glow of its bright bluish lights. Beyond the city lights, far ahead, was blackness. The dark was the great mouth of the ocean, and it was not silent, it roared with life in the dark and in the light. There was no distinction for its sound and movements, it came and went continuously, beyond the seasons, beyond the clock. And although I knew it was there, its sound did not carry to the height of the small mountain; but it was there, like an abyss just lingering, filled with life beyond measurement, patient and never gone. For centuries it lapped the shores, the empty hillsides, the horse and carriages, the electric cars. Wave after wave came, rocking the shore in endless cycles. Above the water, hanging low in the sky, was a crescent moon. Its open chalice reclined as if providing a bathtub for fairies, and it hung beautifully against the blackness. But unlike any other night, any other night in my memory, the crescent that hung was red. A burnt red-orange. I gasped, my mind flipped through the possibilities for this wonder. A layer of fog? No. Eclipse? No. The moon is red! What celestial occurrence could make the silvery slice red? I had seen yellow moons, big and nearly taking up the night sky, but nothing close to this color. And would the explanation change its beauty or magic? The moment, a little girl in a little black car, perched on a hill in the darkness, upon a rotating earth suspended in a universe of planets and suns and comets and gas. The moon, a constant, the constant companion to this planet. Alone at night, I reach to it as my friend. You, who are so strange. I, upon, the crust of this planet, among the city lights and construction that cover the crust of soil like a metal rash. Beyond the surface, there is moisture and gas and small particles. Beyond the surface, there are icy bits of rock and planets of fire- atoms that combust and implode, there are rings of rocks and holes and billions of suns surrounded by their own solar systems. Beyond that, it’s incomprehensible. I ask "what?" I ask "why?" I shake my head- answers are impossible, I don’t even really know the questions.

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