A Still Moon and Stars: Early Columns, and More
In early March, Michael, my nine-year-old, called me to come outside. From my easy chair in front of the television, I hesitated. It was late evening and it was chilly out there. My son came in, took my hand, led me into the backyard and up the steps to our deck. It was very dark. I could barely make out Sandi, my wife, bundled in a blanket on a wicker chair. A little further away, equally enwrapped, sat Jenny. Michael, whom I lost momentarily, had by now climbed onto a pallet bed covered with blankets and a pillow on the deck floor.
A comforter draped chair awaited me. For a few minutes we spoke about events of the day. We then moved on to concerns, at the time, pressing. Eventually, we seemed to settle on old milestones: vacations, reunions, the like. The space between our whispering grew. Soon we were silent.
I became aware of how the pine trees formed a colonnade around the edge of our backyard; shadow sentries between us and the canyon below. Above the pines were the stars and a crescent moon over the Seven Sisters to the east. There were so many stars, so many; and planets, too, coursing overhead like an hour hand across the Zodiac. We were all still as a lake, and welcomed the galaxies in.
The universe is an unconquerable mystery, and so are we; both can be so beautiful, so achingly beautiful: ourselves, the still moon and stars. We try to decipher what few answers we can about the questions they pose. Not from some noble quest, but simply to know.
Over the past sixteen years, at my best, I’ve tried to chronicle the beauty and the questions as they’ve come to me. Mostly, I’ve had to be satisfied with the mysteries – big and small. And that is what I write about.