The Moon Considered

River Journal invites local residents to submit pieces they have written. Below is one such piece from a woman in Briarcliff Manor. Please contact us at for additional information concerning submissions.

I was never a fan of the sun.  But without its help and lending to reflection, we would not be able to see our friend, the moon. It is best admired in “ordinary time”…that time defined by the graceful gift of a familiar routine, not blemished with anxiety, restlessness, fear or doubt.

When I look up and see it as a mere sliver of a crescent, gently guarding its shining neighbor…a star, I once thought… but have since been educated in, now knowing that it is, indeed, the planet, Jupiter.

And that vision always triggers the recital in my mind of the first two lines from Edward Lear’s poem from 1871…”The owl and the pussycat went to sea, in a beautiful pea-green boat.   They took some honey and plenty of money, wrapped up in a five-pound note…”  My dad gave me the book as a child and I vividly remember the picture on the midnight blue page…the crescent moon with a single star, high above the owl and the pussycat in their boat.  That has been etched in my mind’s photo album all these years.  So, I always welcome the smile I get when I look up and think of the two little friends gently adrift on the water.

If I allow my gaze to linger, well….that’s when the smile fades.  Dreams, regrets, unfulfilled promises…the moon deserves more respect from me but, at times, I find that I’m a tad bit angry with it.  Probably because I am envious of its peace, beauty and splendor.  Perhaps I know that it’s been kinder to other hearts.  And although I’m happy for them, my own weighs heavy.  Yet, I’m still drawn in by some magical force and so I gaze and I wonder.  In my mind’s eye, I see the Trevi Fountain in Italy, children laughing, midnight strolls, couples in love….What do any of us hope to see when we flirt with the moon?  Will some struggle to find the courage to summon the memory of a lost love? 

When the calendar is kind and turns the moon full in all its glory…that’s when the dance begins. My home is graced by a towering maple that fills the yard.  When the light play allows the shadows of its arms to visit ….well, one can have a feast of an imaginary slide-show.  Even for the art-challenged, one is able to take the artist’s palette in hand and go wild.  However, the mind’s eye can be kind or not, depending on its frame at the time.  It was my aunt who told me as a child that the dark shadow on the moon’s surface is the outline of a

man… hence, the Man in the Moon.  The Italians named him Vracoss.  She told me to make a wish and send it up to Vracoss.  Yeah, he never did turn out to be my friend, so I kind of ignore him now and just make it about his dwelling.

So, as I look upward, I wonder and I wish and I pray but mostly, I reflect and I regret.  

There is so much to be said about a moon shadow on the water…the sound of the waves, the smell of the sea, the warm caress of sand on bare feet, the flow of a gossamer dress in the salty breeze… I once, and only once, was fortunate enough to stroll by the ocean’s edge under a full moon on a rather unforgiving evening in August.  Hand in hand, but not in love.  Yet, I still cling to that feeling, imagining what it would have been like, had it been with someone who shared my heart and the promise of the night.  Those are the times when we wish that time could stand still….and while we know it can’t, we still gaze and hope…and on the one night, when the moon is feeling especially friendly, if you close your eyes and be really, really still, perhaps you can catch a glimpse of the elusive “happily ever after…”

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