Full Moon by the Wetland

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FlomaxFew of my closest male friends still get up in the middle of the night. Most have had surgery or are on Flomax. They sleep through the night. While they’re sleeping, I’m getting up three of four times, on a good night. Last night it was five!

You might think they’re luckier than I am. But sometimes, like last night when I got up five times, there’s a blessing to it. There are windows on three sides of the loft. On a clear night, I look out and up at Orion’s belt — it’s always there — and feel all’s right with the world. I saw Orion belt again last night, but there was a brighter blessing – a full moon throwing a wide swath of moonlight across the wetland onto the yard and through the cabin’s windows.

SupermoonThe swath of light shifted with each trip down the handcrafted maple staircase the A-frame’s builder — a Saint Paul fireman — had rescued before the old firehouse was torn down. It’s a beautiful work of art, and, when the evening sun or a full moon shines its light on the maple, those who see it can’t help but be thankful the old fireman rescued it from its fateful trip to the landfill. The angle of the light moves with the moon to create changing patterns formed by the light from above and the different shaped shadows cast by the thin, leaf bare birches and aspens, and by the bigger oaks and maples whose leaves have not yet fallen — each of the five trips up and down the staircase unlike the one before. I thought of all my friends who no longer need to make trips in the night because of surgery or Flomax, or the end of their time under the full moon among the trees and wetlands. 

Someday I’ll make my last trip down that stairwell, but the blessing of the full moon in late October 2018 will stay as long as my memory holds out — an heavenly taste of earth, an experience of the Ineffable, a non-Flomax night of bliss!

After brewing a pot of coffee this morning, I turn my attention back to the book I’d been reading before bed, Marilynne Robinson’s Gideon, the story of a dying old preacher writing a memoir for his young son. I come to a page that speaks of what I felt seeing the full moon. “I am trying to decide,” says the Reverend John Ames, “what I have never before put into words. … It was one day while listening to baseball that it occurred to me how the moon actually moves, in a spiral, because while it orbits the earth, it also follows the orbit of the earth around the sun. This is obvious, but the realization pleased me. There was a full moon outside my window, icy white in a blue sky, and the Cubs were playing Cincinnati.”

Crosley Field

Crosley Field, 1969, home of the Cincinnati Reds

Funny thing about that. Years ago, as a youth, I, like Reverend John Ames — and maybe John’s creator, Marilynne Robinson, listened to Cincinnati Reds radio broadcasts before drifting off to sleep hundred miles away.  The broadcasts came through clear as a bell in Broomall, Pennsylania. There were nights when the Cubs — or my Phillies — were playing Cincinnati.

  • Gordon C. Stewart by the wetland after a full moon, October 23, 2018.

Verse – After Wine

after wine 
aboard ship

is the
rolling
of my
walk
from
the wine
or from
the sea

is the
full moon
on the
waves
weaving
webs
of silver
water

is the
love
we found
when younger
bright as
moonlight
rich
as wine

– Steve Shoemaker, cruising the Caribbean, March 12, 2015

Verse – A Stain on the Moon (Brain?)

While driving home last night, I saw

a full moon in the eastern sky.

There were no clouds wandering by

(I’m sorry, Wordsworth…), but I saw

a line, a dark smudge–vertical–

move from the upper right and fall

quite slowly (like a tentacle)

down to the lower left. 

                                               I called

my spouse at home using my cell

(risking the lives of all around),

but she saw nothing.  Could it be

a floater in my eye?  Windshield

bugs, butterflies?  Or could it be,

as some have thought, that I’m crazy.

 

-Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, September 19, 2013

Howling at the Moon

Howling at the Moon

Howl at the moon with Steve Tuesday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m. at Shepherd of the Hill Church Tuesday Dialogues: examining critical public issues locally and globally: “Emancipation: Becoming Free – Go Fly a Kite!”