Sunday, January 3, 2021

Victorian Moon

 Victorian Moon

 The Cold Moon loomed up through the forest, as big as a new idea, resplendent in purple robes of dusk.  I saw it looking at me, and so I looked back, gazing upon this last tradition of the waning year before turning to walk inside.  

  The fireside almost kept me there, its warmth persuasive over the hours, but I had already set up a telescope in the yard.   Its namesake was waiting just outside the door.  The chill descended upon my upturned face, crystalizing my breath and the fireplace’s point, inducing a waver in resolve.  But there was the telescope, pale in the moonlight, ready to turn a green glass eye skyward.  

  An ancient landscape awaited in the eyepiece, silent and fixed, like characters frozen at the end scene of a movie, and what a show it must have been, a few billion years ago.  Fire and brimstone were etched in rocky echoes, and lava flows cooled to a peaceful gray of a matured age.  All of it was serene and forgotten now, lunar dust filtering onto an ancient scrapbook.  Does the Man in the Moon have any regrets?  

  Midway through a scientific perusal of satellite geography, the moonbeams did what they often do, and plucked Reason out of my head.  Perhaps you’ve been robbed of your senses by these silent pickpockets filtering through the branches, softly, softly.  Many songs written, a love professed, and summer scenes remembered after the moonbeams steal away those earthly weights we call Logic and Sense.  The clouds turned the sky soupy, and suddenly, the Moon gazed down with the face of a young woman, immortalized in a Victorian painting.  The glow surrounding her visage, the mysterious half smile, emblazoned on the shifting clouds was now greenish, now sepia.  Gone was the harsh reflected sunlight, replaced with a vintage phosperence of yesteryear.  If one could have caught the sparkles of the waves of a hundred summers, and suffused them into the gentle orb floating in the midnight sky, the explanation would give even the most cynical telescope operator pause.  Doubtless he would dismiss the story, but if the owls hooting deep in the forest were to glance over, they might see him reminiscing about something he wasn’t even sure existed.  

  Vignettes of noontime laughter on a beach, filling stations at the dawn of the automobile age, running through verdant fields, great great great grandmother’s oatmeal raisin cookies, and what a child thinks adults must talk about after bedtime almost appeared on the ephemeral light.  The gnarled branches of the oaks reached up to snag a few of these photons, but like hands that try to hold on to memories, the light ran through their grasping fingers, leaving them empty as a locket in a pawnshop.  

  Above all of this, the Vintage Moon gazed down with that enigmatic smile, floating on in the midnight sky.  I waved goodnight to this Victorian lady, and ventured back to the fireside.  Although I had been robbed by the moonbeams, I was richer without so much of that stifling supply of Sensibility.  I still don’t know what to make of it, but perhaps that’s the point the Vintage Moon was making.  Like listening for echoes in a seashell, it’s good to sink one’s hands into the sands of Imagination, if only to build a small castle that gets rinsed away by the sunrise.  I’ll be watching for her next month.  

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