Sunday, November 20, 2011
The moon followed me home tonight.
I caught sight of its bright, lopsided smile as soon as I got on the freeway and couldn’t stop staring. It was HUGE! Ginormous, even. But definitely lopsided. I don’t know what you call a two-thirds harvest moon, but that’s what it was.
And it was in a playful mood.
At some point when you’re doing seventy-five on a freeway, you have to stop staring at glowing celestial orbs and pay attention to traffic. Which, apparently, hurt the moon’s little feelings. Because when I glanced up to marvel at its enormousness, it wasn’t there anymore.
How could it just, disappear like that? I mean, the thing was not only the size of a house, it was absolutely neon. I quickly glanced over my shoulder and out the back window. Maybe the freeway curved when I wasn’t paying attention. Nah, that wasn’t it. Or I was driving faster than the speed of light. Yeah, that actually was a possibility. Where the heck did it go?!?
I gave up and went back to the corn maze of thoughts that distracted me from my playmate in the first place. Guess the earth rotates faster than I realized, I thought to myself. Searching the dark night through the windshield, suddenly there it was again. Just a little piece of it this time—an odd glowing wedge peeking out from behind . . . a cloud? No, it was a clear night. What on earth was it hiding behind? How could it possibly play peek-a-boo with me when there wasn’t a cloud in the sky?
It grew a little bit, shrank down, disappeared for a nano-second, reappeared in another mutation of itself. A virtual lava lamp in the sky, it slowly morphed from one bright shape to another, never entirely revealing itself, rising and falling like a roller coaster in slow motion. Finally, I realized who its silent partner was—the Superstition Mountains. So dark was the night as I drove further east into the desert, I couldn’t make out the huge mountain range at all and forgot it was even there. Until the moon began playing hide and seek behind its back and the Superstitions cried out, “ollie ollie oxen free!” in protest.
Chuckling at its own joke and nodding at the stars who twinkled their admiration, the moon stepped out into the open and took a little bow. “See ya later,” I offered silently. “Thanks for the entertainment!” And I turned south away from its celestial stage. But I was never in control of this chum's antics, and circling the roundabout near my neighborhood, I caught sight of the jocular orb in my peripheral vision the way a child on a carousel sees a smiling parent just before another dizzying turn. “There’s no getting rid of you, I see,” I laughed, enjoying the attention on my lonely drive home.
It was a big moon for this late at night. And the question is: how can something that bright conceal itself in the middle of a cloudless ten o’clock sky? It hides in plain sight. It never moved at all. The mountains conspired playfully with my perspective and only gave away the moon’s hiding place when they tired of the game.
Safe at home, I stepped outside in the backyard with my faithful dog who always waits for me and together we waved good night to the celestial nightlight, now leaning casually against the black backdrop. I know it’s keeping an eye on things.
Playing peek-a-boo with the moon. How wonderful.