My kids say I’m part werewolf, because I’m as moon-driven as the tides. When there’s a full moon, I like to be outside, under it. There’s nothing quite so sublime as walking on a quiet beach under a full moon… except, of course, sledding in three feet of snow under a full moon with a pack of howling kids.
I took an astronomy class in college … for two weeks… until the hard math kicked in. So I’ve always been vaguely interested in the sky, but it wasn’t until a trip to the beach eight years ago that my werewolf tendencies began to develop full-bent.
Then, I took a walk on the beach to temporarily escape the noise of the house. I wasn’t a moonie then. Didn’t check the calendar for full moons … didn’t even know they each had names. But, the moon rose, glorious in size and splendor, while I walked at the ocean’s edge, and I was equally entranced and bewildered.
Entranced at the beauty of the thing, its perfect rough roundness, its ghostly ascent.
Bewildered that so few people were on the shore to watch as the silver rays lit up the beach. It seemed as though people should be pouring onto the beach, trying to get a glimpse, pushing each other like Walmart shoppers trying to get in the door on Black Friday.
But it was just me and a handful of quiet others; walking, sitting, wading. Baptism at the feet.
I sat on an aged wood groin, crossed my legs, and watched the moon until my neck hurt. It seemed to be admiring me back. We gazed at each other with the rapture and intensity of lovers cruelly separated by 238,000 miles.
Inside the beautiful homes that lined the ocean-front avenue, I could see the flickering lights of TVs. People were sitting on plush leather sofas staring at screens, something they could do the rest of the month, the rest of the year, the rest of their lives, for that matter. All the while, steps outside, the universe was putting on the greatest show off earth.
It seemed a venial sin.
That night, I became a moonie, planning walks, runs, even vacations around the full moon. When it’s a supermoon, unusually large, I pile the kids in the car in their pajamas, and we drive to the nearest horizon, sit on the hood of the car and take turns with the binoculars. Thoreau was the “self-appointed inspector of snowstorms and rainstorms.” We inspect the moon.
It’s never once failed to pass inspection, even in Massachusetts.
But despite all this, don’t think I’m totally obsessed with the moon.
I’m unfaithful, equally enamored of another.
The sun, of course.