Driving Home the Full Moon: Everyday Magic, Day 969

There I was, looking for the rising moon and wondering why it hadn’t yet shown itself. Maybe it was  too early for moonrise or prairie fires just to the north of Hwy. 35, which I was driving from Emporia to Lawrence, were hiding the ceiling of the sky. So I kept driving and looking, hoping for the moon to catch up with me.

I was also simultaneously tired and exhilarated, in part because of the moon the night before keeping me up despite my “go-back-to-sleep-you-have-a-big-day-tomorrow” self-talk attempts. Even with the curtains of our bedroom closed, I could feel that big moon energy, making me want to get up and fry an omelette or read a book, but certainly not sleep.

It was the tail end of that big day — one that brought me meaning and joy, starting with visiting a wonderful poetry writing class at Emporia State University, where we talked about what real work was calling us and what truest words were singing through our writing. I had my first-ever professional studio photo shoot with the wonderful Dave Leiker, who brought me a surprising sense of peace while placing me in the middle of clamshell lighting. I ate gyros with one of my publisher-friends at the local brewery, then guzzled a whole lot of iced tea in the Granada Coffeehouse while revising a grant. I also got to talk deeply over Mexican food about land and literature with the current Kansas Poet Laureate, Kevin Rabas, who teaches at Emporia State, the wonderful creative writing chair, Amy Sage Webb, and a lovely young poet, Linzi Garcia, before giving a reading from Miriam’s Well.

Now I was driving 77 miles home, coming over a ridge to find a prairie fire dancing a line shaped like a question mark to my north, and then another kind of fire: the full moon, half-risen, raging orange, enormous on the eastern horizon.

The rest of the drive the moon rose fuller, slowly getting smaller as it got higher, turning from fire-orange to sherbet to peach to butterscotch to manila. I turned up my CD player, singing along with the whole score of “Godspell,” then rocking out to Kansas’s “Carry On, My Wayward Son” until, so appropriately, Sarah Vaughn’s “Moon River” aligned the moon, the music, the highway, and me.

Driving into the rising moon on an early spring night is a lot like standing outside on the first warm enough day when a sweet breeze blows through our beings and happily clears all the debris of winter and other life challenges, sadnesses, and heartbreaks. The more I drove with my good friend the moon lighting the way, the more I came home to how much I love this world.

A View of the Full Moon From the Almost-Home: Everyday Magic, Day 741

IMG_1090Tonight we watched the moon rise, one evening past full moon, from the eastern side of the hill. Standing in the grass at the top of the slope, we remembered how we had once planned to build our house in this very spot. We would have a home nestled in the eastern curve of the hill, protected by the trees and near the rag-tag orchard Ken’s grandfather planted many decades ago. Now this view is interrupted by a radio tower, blinking incessantly, and the ongoing roar of lawnmowers trimming the ground around a housing development that sprung up here in recent years.

Over 20 years ago, pre-radio tower and pre-housing development, I spent hours in this very field, figuring out my kitchen view of the sky and bedroom leaning toward the woods. This was where we would live, we decided, for the rest of our IMG_1085lives. Until we decided something else.

It happened one bright spring day, too cold to not have a coat. We walked to the west side of the hill, sat down on the slope and looked at the sky. “We could just build here,” Ken said. “We could see the weather coming.” A click. We both knew instantly. So we changed plans in a hurry, and began dreaming out a southwest-facing home instead of a due-eastern one.

It’s worked beautifully for us. We like looking into the future, tracking the weather to come, far more than seeing the tail-end of what’s leaving slowly or in a hurry. Being in such a place means we’re more exposed, but we’re okay with this trade-off.

Now, almost 20 years later, we watch the moon rise over the past. Large and orange, it makes all we see glow awake. Then we return through the dense forest, stepping gingerly among raspberry bushes and fallen branches, finding the old road back to our home. Once it’s in sight, so is the night sky, welcoming us back.