Tag Archives: moon

The Three Sisters

The sisters were bored. Mintaka, Alnilam and Alnitak had grown weary of their life in the sky, caught in the luminous circle of Orion’s belt: an existence of being mere accessories to an ancient, hunting constellation.

And to make matters worse, every October they observed, like envious astronomers, the descent of the Orionid meteor shower. They watched the bright veil bound for parts unknown: the blue and green planet that patiently awaited the radiant visitation.

Repeatedly they begged the night sky’s very patient empress – for the moon was surrounded by stars of varying ages, and had grown used to their supplications – if they might not just once be included in the festivities, just to see what the flamboyant illumination was all about. Surely Orion could look after his silly buckle and sword by himself.

Though the meteor shower never seemed to return, and despite the moon’s tedious explanations of atmospheres and ozones and burning dust, making the sisters wild with impatience – Alnitak actually swelled into a supergiant in her annoyance, threatening her figure – their opportuning continued.

Finally, weary of their tiny voices bouncing off latitudes and longitudes, traveling through endless light-years, the moon gave in.

On their given day of release, the sisters began their journey downward. They noticed the change in the air – its shape and texture: becoming thinner, harsher. Instead of the soft unchanging shadows at the top of the sky, they saw rushing by them a prism of colors: cobalt, turquoise, lavender, emerald, tangerine, bronze, cherry, ivory. They thrilled at the swift-moving kaleidoscope.

But this wasn’t the only change that the stars noticed. The moon, ever considerate of her wayward children, made sure that the stars’ arrival would be no cause for alarm. The stars would not crash into the earth with an undignified thump, to be left wallowing in the depths of their personal craters. And as they were promised a jaunt amongst humanity, they were given the shapes of women. And since they were the daughters of the lunar queen, they were given royal status: the three sisters became princesses. Finally, feeling creative and compassionate, the moon also made them impossibly beautiful. Their flesh became as fragrant as tinted power, their cheeks, fingertips and elbows were touched with rouge, their lips were as soft as honey. Their substance was made from the delicate wreckage of a ladies boudoir.

They journeyed through histories and centuries. Their gowns and veils swirled about their bodies and faces like galaxies. This irony was not lost on them and they made a note to thank their clever mother for her wit as soon as they returned. Mintaka, at least, the most distant and introverted of the sisters, intended on keeping this promise.

They had a lovely time. The irresponsibility, the freedom from the astrological maps embedded in the charcoal-colored firmament…the earth was such a lovely place. But then they discovered something else.

It made a rushing, cold sound that vibrated beneath their feet. There was a sense of movement, of hidden life – of a foreign world made of silver, salt and scales: if they knew what those things were.

Beyond curious, they once again asked to be shown one more new world. Beyond annoyed, the moon listened…but to the sisters’ surprise she quickly agreed upon realizing the nature of their request. So a basket was fashioned for the girls to delicately step into – and they were softly lowered from the green bluffs onto the gentle, sighing ocean.

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And they enjoyed themselves mightily. The pale horizon, the glitter of shark’s teeth and fishes’ breath beneath the water, the kelp forests, the tireless birds, the grottos made of pearls and coral. They could have floated aimlessly forever.

They did not realize that the moon had a plan. For she was ruler of the oceanic rhythms: every time she had a whim to do so, she would cast a silken line rigged with invisible hooks and pull the tides towards her. And on the evening when Orion’s complaints got to be too much- something about a lack of embellishments – the moon, as well as catching the tide, made sure that she secured the sisters’ floating basket as well.

As a result, on that night the tide was unusually high…and stargazers were amazed to see a trio of stars actually ascending, until they returned to their homes, becoming the stationary jewels decorating Orion’s belt once more.

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Autumn Is Beckoning

I think autumn is beckoning.  I can see its witchy fingers lengthening, the dark and daring shades.  They leave shadowy scars across summer’s honey-colored skin and I welcome that fleshy damage.  It is a stinging reminder that soon it will be time to leave.  It was a heady three months, but the equinox of bronze harvests is coming and the dog days of August must now slip back into their collars.

Cats, which for weeks lay like silk carpets of muscle and bone on baking sidewalks, became emboldened by the muzzled days.  They basked like soft icons in the long afternoons; in shadows stretching like Nosferatu, they clenched their eyes and listened for the onset of the hunting season.

I too listened for the harvest-colored season – the fields and orchards in the sky.  I smelled the wheat, the cherries, and the corn that rejoiced above my head.  I heard the hunter’s moon rise through their rustling acres.  And I so wished I could taste the atmospheric bounty that ripened above me.

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It’s possible that I soon will.  When the days are no longer heavy; steaming under a layer of captured heat and moisture – a boiling, constricted mist.  When the nights are clear and the planets glitter like sequins in a diamante veil.   And the moon, swathed in her stark and chilly shroud will roam at will, dressed for the harvest, bearing her starry scythe.

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But there is some waiting to be done.  Still, occasionally, a cold and sly wind will slip through the dense weather.   Or I will see a leaf or two – tinted with ginger or caramel – at my feet.  It isn’t much.

But it is enough for me to know.

That autumn is beckoning.

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Her Ethereal Light

Moonlight’s gown melted into the earth, its complex alchemy of the sky nourishing the green circulation of a sleeping country.  She was wrapped in the cold breath of stars and a turquoise swath of twilight – still warm with the memory of the sun in its low horizon lands.

A Final Goodbye

Light bloomed around her like a pale garden – and continued to grow, until it covered entire hemispheres, illuminating latitudes and longitudes.  Moonlight’s pretty dress reflected the galaxies she had left behind:  the radiant fabric was embroidered with their swirling travels, the distant clouds of shining planets.   

As she moved across the dark acres, the silvery fabric winked in the shadows. The gossamer train filled the spaces between the minutiae of the dusky world.  Moonlight progressed slowly, admiring her dress, as it flowed past mountains and fields in textile illumination.

She was so lovely, and wore her ethereal light like a veil that danced from her shoulders.  It filled the air with insubstantial color and rode through the atmosphere like a lush, metallic ocean.  Her footprints traced a luminous path, marking her progress as the evening grew dark and rich.  They filled with light, like shallow lakes, and the gentle waves nudged against the curved shores of dainty insteps.

Moonlight’s nacerous glow swept across the world with a chilly scintillation.  She moved slowly to take in her allotted hours: her lifetime of shadow.  She took the time to look into the sky, the blue clouds, her nocturnal birthplace. And with gratitude she stared into the face of the goddess who released her handmaiden nightly to announce her lunar presence and twilight’s soft departure.

The Moon Went Fishing

A crescent moon, curved like a ship, balanced softly on the currents of the dim sky.  The lunar canvas was gilded with cold, and its waning fragment was bright with winter’s cruel, sharp light.

Clouds smeared the horizon with twilight; fingertips plucked the stars from their night time aerie.  The sun, rebuked, sank beneath the hemispheres, wrapped in a blanket of latitudes and longitudes.  Night had truly arrived, a shadow descending from the heights of the sky’s perfect arc.

As the moon continued its gentle voyage, a single star – spared from the clouds’ harvesting – hung below it.  It seemed to be suspended from the gliding bow, deftly maneuvered at the end of a thread, glistening with the dew that bloomed out of the chilly air.

The Starry Bait

A sparkling bait, it waited in the depths of the murky atmosphere.   Alluring and artful, it was the pearl that once rolled in Phoebe’s palm as she reclined in her citadel beyond the planets. Delicious and distant, it lingered by the tender arc of light.

What did the moon wait for, with its shining lure?  Perhaps galaxies full of fish and dragons were close by, drawn close by their inexorable, swimming orbits.  Perhaps veils of light, the delicate frost of outlying worlds, would wrap themselves around that tempting hook.   

The moon cast its line throughout the night, ready for the nibble and pull of bright, curious victims.  It remained in patient grace until the sun returned, swathed in a bronzed and bloody haze.  Only then did the radiant ship disappear, floating away on dark waves glittering with satellites, to wait for the return of its twilight sport.

The Waning Moon

One night, when the moon was heavy and full, its curiosity got the best of it.  It slowly lowered itself through sapphire clouds and rippling twilight…it shouldered its way past bristling stars, past their astronomical arrangements that made the sky a sparkling atlas.  Down these gilded maps it flew on its celestial quest.

It avoided the tangles of constellations, the frosted galaxies filled with light and planets.  It sank through sediments of discolored atmospheres and foreign gravities.  It was curious about the earth, for sometimes a satellite wants to look its owner in the face.

The far-off patterns of continents were intriguing:  the broken coastlines cutting into oceans, mountains lying as still as skeletons. For too long the moon had gazed on the distant countries and waters, longing to cool their exotic surfaces, to learn the sun’s warming trick.

But the moon was also reckless.  It swooped below the gray horizon, past cars and houses, closely above people – who, if they had only looked up, would have seen an amazing sight.  It then came upon a tree:  barren and cold, not yet softened by the year’s first crop of blossoms. The tree’s branches caught the moon, like a bright, luminous fish.  In the moon’s struggles, the branches pierced its sides, and sluices of light flowed down the trunk until the bark shone like a radiant ghost.

The light of the moon was broken into pieces as the tree balanced the unruly planet.  Like a cathedral window, the moon’s color was divided by a disruptive linear world.  Suffering in foreign atmospheres, it missed the populous heavens, the pure, glowing night.  In its loneliness, it felt the disapproving eye of its mother Diana, who – impatiently adjusting her ropes of stars and her illuminated crown – wondered what she would do with her lunar child.

Harnessed and still, the moon waited.  Losing its life’s blood of light, it grew smaller as it began to wane.  Eventually the tree loosened its grip…and the moon once again rose into the sky – a half, a quarter or maybe even a crescent of its former self.

A Night Swim

The moon has been in Pisces.  For several days it was a slim crescent, providing just enough light for the starry fish to swim in – breathing in the radiance, the austere, pale light.

The luminous curve did not lie on the left or right side of the capricious satellite.  It was on the bottom:   a drink that will become larger as the moon grows full and generous.  Pisces splashed in the glowing ocean as the astronomers waited, marking its orbit across the arid night sky. Like hooks, their numbers and equations would pull the fish from their tranquil sea, trapping them in a net thrown across the galaxy.

And when the mystic trawl drags them from the bright water they will lay gasping against the sky.  Stars and planets will swirl around fins and gills, edging against scales – glittering like a diamante skin.

The Sea is in the Sky

There was no bait that could lure the fish from the moon’s pretty shores.  They swam throughout the night until the moon became filled with light, forcing Pisces into the dry darkness.  Sprawled in constellations, the fish wait – for the waters to recede, giving them a chance to slip once more into the moon’s shining waves.

Lunacy

It is at this time of year, the final third, with the three-syllabeled months and early shadows that predict the quickening of its domain, that I feel its presence.  Like the tides that feel the pricking of silver hooks in their watery skins, I am pushed and pulled and reminded that now is the time.

During the warm months, it is a jealous, white shadow, hanging in the humid, seductive sky.  Its cold women, crescents dangling from their ears, stars melting into their hands, are content to wait.

Until now.  And the hooks in my skin tell me also that the wait is over.  The moon – call it hunter's, harvest, blood, corn, barley – has returned, its chilled ascendancy sharp and frosted in the evening sky.  It shines with a metallic light, a cloth of silver that charms the heavens so much that the nights become longer, so that the lively fabric could be enjoyed that much more.

When the equinox rides high in the sky, climbing the burnished galaxies, the harvests below emerge from the mothering earth and her erupted, buried seeds.  I can smell the flavors and colors in the hard, cold air.  I shiver with the wet, vermillion leaves, the early shadows and the piercing breezes, heavy with rain and living things.

I see an orange moon brushing darkened fields, a white moon chilling the constellations, a yellow moon that warms autumn's firmament.  Autumn carries in her arms the produce of busy populations, leaves that crackle like fire, grains that are woven into loaves of bread.  She wears bracelets and ropes of pearls, but only a single pearl rests on her brow – a symbol of her most perfect jewel.

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The Sun Was Jealous

I take whatever chance I can to look into the sky and observe what mischief goes on there.  Recently I saw an example of waywardness that could only be described as shocking.

That particular day, the sun was frosted and white.  In an act of sheer lunacy, he was trying to disguise himself as the moon, his cold, glittering rival. He had discarded his burnished glow and in a fit of pique had denied the earth his radiance.  He didn't feel like setting in a bath of colors – no.  He was tired of his dreary afternoons, hanging alone in an empty blue arc; or of having his golden face swathed in capricious clouds, ready to take flight at the merest tickle of wind.

He envied the moon so many things – her starry handmaidens, arrayed around her like a crown floating in the sky; her opaque glow, her cool grace of pearls.  He had grown weary of his heat, and the sweat on his brow.  The people, so far below, would never look at him, and it was depressing.  He wished he could change shapes, become a half, a quarter, a crescent…crescents which were carved out of gems and worn in ladies' hair, crescents which were embroidered into Diana's cloak as she hunted across the sky of shadows.

The sun was jealous.  He wanted the moon's authority – she controlled the tides, the oceans of the world.  She could catch the waves in her illuminated net and pull them onto shore; or she could demand that the water be patient and wait for her call.  The moon had the feminine audacity to cross the path between sun and earth; so he would merely flare in futility around her eclipsing edges.  She even exerted a strange power over human women every month.

The moon cascaded across the sky.  She paraded in a shining orbit, bowing in front of a black curtain made bright by galaxies, planets and stars.  The sun felt immobile and foolish, wavering slightly on his axis, condemned to be an undefined and stationary glare.

So on that day, the sun decided to make the bold move and steal the moon's pale robes, hoping that no one would notice.  I did.

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The Moon Walked Me Home

I've never seen an eclipse, and I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be watching that shadow in the sky tonight.

For one thing, I had no idea where I should look.  Up certainly, but from there…where?  I left work at about 6:20PM and immediately started staring into the sky, in a sort of planetary panic.  Street lamps – with their globes of yellow light – and the spotlights illuminating billboards suddenly became lunar assemblies; confusing me until I had no idea where to look next.

I turned a corner and had walked some steps when I finally saw it, winking at me, from the corner of my eye.  A pretty sliver of white light, escaping from the rest of the moon, partially hidden by Diana's charcoal-colored veil.  It wasn't late, people were still on the street:  couples walking slowly, at a post-work pre-dinner pace…and yet no one looked up.

When I had to make another turn, I did so unwillingly.  I had no desire to turn my back on this celestial production, courtesy of the invisible wheels and pulleys of the blue, roaring universe.

I was walking for some time before I became aware of something following me.  And to my great joy I saw the moon, its light pared down to a strip of glowing ribbon, flying at my shoulder – following me home.

She would hide behind apartments, houses and trees.  She would wait – ever polite – if I waited. And when I started walking once more, I would see her, keeping a respectful distance behind me.  I saw stars, cold and glittering pin-pricks in the sky, surrounding the moon as if amazed at her daring.  Once, I saw her float behind a ragged cloud, and it looked as if she was melting into a gray froth.

Finally I reached my street, and I had to turn my back on my friend.  I did so quickly, without looking back.  I hate long good-byes.

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I Applaud The Moon

Boyfriend pointed it out to me.  A slight, butter-colored arc appearing over the Verdugo Mountains.  A full, bountiful moon, introducing itself into the lavender sky.  Just as the pale, gentle dusk had begun to fall, the winter moon was on the rise.  Boyfriend suggested that we wait awhile, just until the moon cleared the highest ridge.

It was a quick climb.  Every time I blinked my eyes, it seemed that a little more of that expansive, freshly-churned star had squeezed itself from behind the darkening mountains.  In less than ten minutes it was clearly visible, stepping onto the wide, celestial stage.

I wonder who else was watching.  Really, it was so slow and deliberate – an almost private act in the expanse of the purple evening sky.  Yet at the same time it was unavoidable and wonderful…like watching someone smile to himself.

It was so grand, I had to applaud.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Winter Moon, the Cold Moon, the Long Nights Moon…thank you so much, it'll be here all month.

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