I cannot tell you how magnificent. I cannot tell you how worthwhile it was to sleep-stumble up the 4 AM road to the opposite side of the hill on which I live, to stand in the wind and the biting cold with all the nighttime animals (but not a single other person — no, not a one).
The moon, slung low again, framed by shadow-trees. Bigger than usual. One side, the uppermost curve, brighter than I have even seen it. Bright enough to be blinding. Bright enough to sting. The opposite side swathed in the shadow of the only terra firma that most of us will ever know; and that shadow faintly red, brown, sienna; and that shadow slightly moving, wavering, shaking. Or maybe that was me shaking. Cold and in awe. Possibly it was both of us.
And the shooting stars zipping across the sky like the fireflies I miss so badly when I return to this desert home, so far from green wet forests.
And the Ponderosas making the air sweet — vanilla, butterscotch; thick enough to hold in my mouth and taste against my tongue.
And the sound of wind shearing through the pine tops.
And the sound of wind chimes calling.
And the first morning birds.
And some barely-there scuffle getting closer, closer and making the skin at the back of my neck prickle with hot alarm.
The Man in the Moon was there the whole time, his mouth agape, as though it were a shock to feel the coolness of Earth’s shadow touch the places where the sun had been just before.
And now the sun is painting the far side of the sky from its place below the horizon. I am not usually up so early, so I do not know if the green and the orange and the bruised purple-blue are everyday colors. But I am looking out at those shifting hues, my fingers numb with lingering cold and my face sore from smiling so earnestly, and they are there as sure as anything. And I am here, too, feeling such tremendous gratitude. For the light and the shadow. For the opportunity to bear witness.