Thursday, March 21, 2019
I’ve turned off the net earlier today, ever glad to have few hours without its stealthy intrusions into my computer and even, I suspect, wirelessly into my small Samsung Galaxy III mini, phone.
As I sat down to the supper for which I had carefully set a place on my folding table at the sofa, I thought how many things today had been, to my eyes, beautiful. We had warm sunlight, and a chilly, whipping wind, the kind of weather in which a bather at the nearby beach could get deeply sunburned, like the dear, tall Yankees do, walking into the super market in their L.L. Bean Bermuda shorts, grinning as if they didn’t know better than to get lobstered down here in the South.
The wind whipped little strands of my hair into my face, even my mouth, and yet it was neither too cold nor too gusty, to be pleasant, considering the heat that will be coming any time it wishes, never mind the season or month. I’ve remembered some of my worst choices being made under what can seem a literally threatening, and certainly drugging, hot sun. We have the kind of heat that we think of as northerners do extreme cold—something that can be dangerous, even fatal. We shield our eyes and skin from it, if we listen to science and can afford such sheltering—many can’t on these seafood-harvesting Georgia shores, on the blazing, luxuriously green golf courses, or the beach-side pools at Sea Island. But on a day like today, the wind, teasing and merry, provides an excuse to let sunblock be enough, and the devil take worrying about anything else, in this paradise. Yes, that’s what I thought, stopping to balance with my hand on the fender of my grimy white Honda Pilot, even in Winn Dixie’s Parking Lot on Highway 17, among a flock of ill-parked other cars, with barely a single real junk heap among them, no word but Paradise comes to mind. I stand right there and peer across the road to check the state of the sky that is visible all the way down to the horizon’s low cypress trees, imported palms, flat yellow marshlands.
Last night, the full moon hovered over that unseen shoreline. It just appeared, large and low as a washtub tilted on its side, brimful of cream, misted over by gold. As I walked, it moved, and I wanted it to be framed by something on shore. I moved on, the moon cruised, and I stopped and so did she, fulfilling my wish, as, briefly framed between some dark, upreaching claws of cypress, the golden moon posed, then rolled on.
“I didn’t even see it,” said a fellow dog-walker when I pointed it out. Moving onto our wide, twilight shadowed lawn, she stepped closer toward the rising moon, face to face, under a dusky lavender sky. I saw it just above her head—outsized, superbly round, an orb of gleaming gold. It hovered, soundless, but the energy of our astonishment zoomed that moon up very close and filled the twilight. Her figure in its long white dress, made her a pale silhouette near the dark oaks. Did those trees also gawk at this silent wonder? In seconds, overborne by stillness, my friend murmured, “Breathtaking,” just as I had moments before. One word gave us harmony with it all. Yet, nothing in nature could hold still, and when we saw that moon change ever so little, we resumed our walks, moving at a good pace, our dogs tugging their leashes in opposite directions. It would have been wrenching to leave such glory, but the moon, whitening and rising, was leaving us. *****(When I met my friend walking two days later, in clear afternoon sun, she told me she had seen the moonrise two more times—this time orange and only half emerged on the horizon, and then huge and golden again the next night. These awe-filled sightings are precious and fleeting. When next we look, that moon will be its silver, dime-sized shape, high in the dark night sky.
That orb must have impressed my mind, for when, tonight, making cornbread, I broke the fragile shell of a Jumbo egg over a cup, it fell into concentric circles—the geometric plumpness of golden yolk, the oval cups of the large shell, white on the outside, cream inside, falling into my open fingers so perfectly, that even the broken shell edges rounded into perfect half and quarter circles, as if in some kind of visual music. The fluorescent light overhead made the transparent white of the egg bright as the yolk, and all I could think was, perfect, geometric circles, how our eyes love them, even though nature’s shapes will rarely, except for planets and moons, insist on geometry. It also loves the accommodations made by wrinkles and irregularities and leaves of trees that curl and clump and thrash in the wind with near—but-never quite– formless– reckless joy. )