The light lingers longer and the darkness develops a shyness about announcing its presence. It is still winter according to the calendar, but out there, at the very edge of where my vision and my desire reach and meet, is spring. I can hardly stay inside.
I walk, down the road toward the river at first, then back behind the house where the field falls toward the pond. It is sandy there, white sand like the beach, and the run-off from all the rain last week, along with what is left of tractor tire prints, has made something akin to miniature dunes. Sawed-off cotton stalks and dead weeds take the place of sea oats. I feel my feet sink with each step.
Ahead of me, Owen darts in and out of the brush at the edge of the pond, nose lifting and falling, unable to catch clear scent of anything worth chasing. Occasionally he glances back to make sure I am still there.
The light of the half-moon reflects off the pond and brightens the sand. I look back over my shoulder and see it dangling in the midst of a handful of stars. Funny, I think to myself, how I never see stars in the company of the full moon, how – with nothing but reflected light – it drowns out the millions of stars shining under their own power. This half one, though, this waxing half-moon pasted on the winter sky, seems perfectly happy to share the space.
I have long been enamored of full moons. I’ve done all kinds of things to find, observe, wallow in, stare in amazement at them. I’ve walked on beaches and dirt roads, stood on balconies, climbed onto roofs. I’ve gazed alone, in groups, and, on a few occasions, with a single other human for whom words were not necessary.
But, until tonight, I don’t think I’ve ever been besotted by half as much.
I walk on. Away from the house toward the fencerow, the rusty, fallen-down line of demarcation between what we call ours and they call theirs, the barrier over which I can and do easily step in daylight to wander under a canopy of pine trees and scrub oaks looking for gopher tortoise burrows and deer scrapes and clarity.
I stop before I get there. I am brave, but not that brave. Not brave enough to go wandering in the woods in darkness that blots out moonlight. Whatever emotional or spiritual clarity might be awaiting me among the burrows and scrapes will have to wait until I have visual clarity.
I turn and walk back toward the light of the half-moon, the white sand, the pseudo-dunes. Toward the back steps, the back door, the inside.
It is only later, days later, that I remember something I read somewhere: Sometimes we want greater clarity when what we need is deeper trust.
I stopped what I was doing long enough to consider what it might mean to somebody standing on the edge of deep woods, somebody with light behind her and only darkness ahead of her, somebody accustomed to full moons and complete answers and full assurance that what she was doing, where she was going was the right thing, the right direction. I stopped to think about the fact that everybody ends up walking in the dark sometimes, even if it’s not by choice. When that happens, a person can pout and cry and bemoan the fact that there is no full moon or a person can keep walking, trusting that half will be enough.