11 November 2008

Autumn Moon

Tonight is one of those clear, chilly fall nights with the kind of full moon that's clear and bright without the starkness it reflects in the winter. There are thin herringbone clouds in one direction, seemingly illuminated from within by refractions of that moonlight.

This will probably be the last such night we will have for a long, long time. The wind picked up around the time the sun began to set through those herringbone clouds; you could almost see the temperature drop as the sun lowered itself in the horizon. This is a sure sign that winter is rapidly approaching.

What kind of winter will it be? Last year's was mild; so was the one two years earlier. And the one in between wasn't terribly cold, either. But the one we had four years ago seemed really cold. Maybe it's because, right in the middle of it, a pipe burst in the apartment where I was living, across the street from the one in which I live now.

Now, if all of this were following the plot of the sort of novel or movie people have seen over and over again and wouldn't have any other way, this coming winter would be brutal and seem endless. After all, we've had three mild ones. But just as important, in terms of stories like the one I'm describing, there are metaphorical dark skies, namely in the economy. So, just as poverty is so often depicted by people huddling around fires in shacks with roofs pummeled by wind and pelted by sleet, economic turmoil is associated with climatic inclemency. Am I the only one who pictures long, dark, cold winters when someone mentions the Great Depression.

But for tonight, I will use the clear sky and the moon as metaphors for serenity and fulsomeness. Not terribly original, I know. And I will try to extend that metaphor for as long as I can: until the skies cloud over and rain something down, or the wind blows too cold. Also not the most creative thing anybody's ever done.

In times past, these images are all I would have had to sustain me through the winter: through darkness, through cold. They would offer me a sort of shelter, as a breeze spreads a shawl of leaves across the bare ground. And as long as that shawl held, as long as those images remained in my mind, I had at least the illusion of protection-- which isn't quite what I needed, in spite (or because) of my vulnerability.

But if this moon is not a harsh mistress (sorry, Carson Mc Cullers), it cannot help but to be full with hopes and longings. Including mine.

Today I had this terrible vision of something happening to prvent me from having my surgery. What that thing is, I don't know. Losing the money I set aside for it, maybe. I hope not. I also hope not to get seriously sick between now and then.

People tell me I worry. I guess I'd rather be wrong for being overly cautious or conservative rather than to have something turn out badly because I was misguidedly sanguine.

But for now there is the moon. How will I see it at this time next year?

At least I believe there is a next year, and I'm doing what I can to live in it when it comes after living in each moment I experience between now and then.

And this moon will be there in its own time.