Tuesday, October 14, 2008
And He Called the Moon Melissa
The moon has made more than few appearances on this blog of late, so I felt compelled to take a cellphone shot of the full moon over our block last night. Who knew how hard it was to get a picture of the moon over the city? If it's not a streetlight soaking the shot through, it's a building in the way. And one can't help but feel slightly self-conscious aiming a camera at anything in Manhattan, as it's immediately configured as a social act. What's up there? Is it something I should know about or buy?
Or, simply, are you nuts?
Anyhow, all this moonishness made me think back to a time when I was afraid of the moon, especially the full moon. I, of course, was young, but not so young that I shouldn't have known better. I was old enough to know it was irrational, but since when did reason ever protect us from gut-level fears? It came out of nowhere, no rationale. Did it have something to do werewolves? Anxiety about puberty, the transforming body, still a few years away? Or all those horror films: Lon Cheney, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi? Whatever the case, I distinctly remember lurching across my dark bedroom, on nights when the moon was full, with my eyes squeezed shut, to yank down the shade before any more of that light could get on my floor.
To be clear, I think a part of me must have taken some excitement in this drama, as much as my fears were real. It must have elevated things a bit.
The way out of this? I took to calling the moon Melissa. And the face that looked back at me was not some killing force, but the face of the girl who squinted from the back of my fourth grade classroom. Well, not her, not exactly, but another version of her.
Here moonlight makes another brief appearance, in this poem by Anne Carson, from Glass, Irony, and God.
from "The Truth About God"
Moonlight in the kitchen is a sign of God.
The kind of sadness that is a black suction pipe extracting you
from your own navel and which the Buddhists call
"no mindcover" is a sign of God.
The blind alleys that run alongside human conversation
like lashes are a sign of God.
God's own calmness is a sign of God.
The surprisingly cold smell of potatoes or money.
Solid pieces of silence.
From these diverse signs you can see
how much work remains to do.
Put away your sadness, it is a mantle of work.