and the moon shines on…

some nights, at the end of some long days, at the end of long stretches of days when the light’s grown dim, gone dark almost, i find myself pulled, like the tide, to the window.

and there she is, mama moon. swollen. certain. shining down and out and pinning shadow to the landscape, the nightscape.

her moonbeams, spilled milk on lakes and woods and even windowsills, turn the nighttime inside out.

i make out things i might otherwise have missed. the glint of gutter where the copper bends, butts up against another sheaf of earth-mined metal, long and narrow, disappearing into darkness.

i might catch the dew, or whatever is the night mist settled on a leaf. i might catch a wisp of cloud, in fine relief against the blue-black of night once it’s cloaked the heavens’ dome.

but mostly, when by day the world is feeling shaky, tipsy-topsy, i look out to find the moon, and there she is, anchor in the murky choppy waters, where she’s been all my nights, so far, and all the world’s as well.

oh, sure she goes up and down in size, like i used to do too. only not with such illumination. mine was done in darkness.

some nights she can barely squeeze out a little wedge of light. but others, like last night, when i needed her, she’s robust, full-waisted. for a moon, she was downright zaftig.

when i first looked up, as i began to pull the shade, so my little one might catch the bedtime drift, i stopped, hard and sudden. called to him to come, check out this moon.

“it’s a cross,” he said.

“sure is,” i answered back, not blinking, not at all, at the shafts of light that reached out, right and left, up and down, from that moon in the middle.

far as i recall, i’ve never seen quite such a moon-cross. never saw before clear channels, bright channels, distinct lines of moonglow, pouring out like that. east and west and north and south, points on a compass lighting up the would-be dark.

hmm, i thought, maybe mama moon knows. maybe she knows we need all the light we can get down here. maybe she’s shut her eyes and she’s squeezing with all her might, bearing down to bust out every molecule of light she’s absorbed from what the day’s wasted.

maybe she knows these hours are dark, darker than we’ve seen in a long long while.

coast to coast and ’round the globe, there’s trouble. and tumult. and even close to home, it’s hard to find a place where the light pours in.

oh there’s wall street, of course. and waking up to news, squawking there from the box beside your bed, news that makes you shudder before your toes get to the cold, hard slabs of oak.

and there’s all the stories and the film clips zipping through the wires. there’s the worries clogging up the computer. there’s tales so odd you consider retreating to your closet floor. where you might stay curled for weeks to come, afraid to death to wake up the morning of november 5 and find the world’s gone stark raving mad.

you meet with friends, out of work and broken-hearted and barely able to swallow the chunks of bread you brought along.

you hear tales of young mamas who’ve been told, just now, that they’ve got weeks or months to live. and you can’t do a damn thing to stop the clock, to bring them, or their children, the time they need. oh, Lord, the time they need.

and in your own home, your own kitchen, you sit and soak up the worries of a boy who feels alone. a boy who aches to find a friend. and you’re just the mama, and short of calling every single kid you ever knew or liked, saying, hey, please, call my kid and ask him maybe to hang out, there is nothing you can do.

so all day, you hold it in. so full your heart, your chest, you think any minute now your ribs might bust. you might start cryin’ and never stop.

but then the night comes. the world goes dark. except for the moon. that one fine orb of light that won’t go out. after all these eons, and all these long long mondays and tuesdays, it still turns on. like a good swiss clock.

count on it.

there she is.

right out the window, where you need her. so close you swear you could twist the latch, heave the frame, and grab a fistful.

she’s what you need. a nightly dose of pure illumination. she’s there to draw you out, and in, both ways at once.

she’s there to remind you, night after night, she shines on all the ones you love, no matter how scattered across this old spinning globe. she is the one whole blanket that holds you, each and every one.

she’s the priestess of the night. drawing out your prayers. pulling you to your knees, if that’s the way you whisper benedictions.

the moon, i think, is God’s unfailing way of sticking close behind. God’s way of reminding, no matter how dark the day, the night light’s always on.

might not always be so bright. but she’s out there. just look up. and count on mama moon to guide you through till dawn.

when one of these mornings, the sun might truly rise.

people, are these days weighing heavy on your heart? what gets you through? where does your light come in?