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Moonstruck January 29, 2010

Posted by Alex Sawit in Stuff in General.

By Alex Sawit

29 January 2010



“You think it’s not magic that keeps you alive?  Just because
you understand the mechanics of how something works doesn’t
make it any less of a miracle, which is just another word
for magic. We’re all kept alive by magic.”



When it comes to moon gazing, there are two kinds of people. There are those who love it and those who don’t see what the big deal is. If you’re one of the latter, I can’t explain my story any further other than to ask you not to rationalize a moonlit sky. You either feel its magic or you don’t.

Someone once said that there is magic in the world but we have all become divorced from it. Having embraced the logic of modern living, we now exist outside the boundaries of magic and can no longer enter it except for fleeting moments at a time. “No one on the outside may enter its boundaries,” we are told, “save for the length of a dream or a flash of an inspiration.”

That’s why I love gazing at the moon. On nights when la bella luna is so round and luminous in the heavens, I feel transported, connected to something wonderful about the world that I cannot do justice to define. I only know that whatever that spark of feeling may be, it is nothing less than magic to me.

Still, in light of recent experience, I feel that I owe it to try to explain myself as best I can. So to do this, if I may, allow me to take you back with me one month ago, to the last day of December when the moon was full.

It was late in the afternoon and, it being New Year’s Eve, I was preparing to attend the night’s festivities. Knowing that there was a full moon, however, and with time to while away before the party, I decided to watch the moonrise first. So I drove to my favorite viewing place, a wide open field of grass that is my one sanctuary for gazing at the sky in this busy metropolis. Arriving there, I sat on a bench and gazed across the field above the tree line.

People don’t realize how pretty the moonrise can be in the late afternoon light. It’s all about the warm colors. True enough, hovering above the treetops was an ivory white moon, fully round and plump, floating in a multi-colored pastel sky. Like the haunting subject of an impressionist painting, the pale moon seemed to lose itself in its lovely background, in a powdery haze of blue-gray, lavender and vermillion lined with pillows of clouds whose edges rippled with electric orange from the setting sun.

I smiled. I was lucky to have gotten here when I did. Had I been just a little late, I would have missed it.

As if on cue, the sky quickly darkened. What was left of the sun suddenly began to fade with exponential speed, causing the sky to transform into a silky blur of indigo and magenta. This went on until the light vanished completely, giving way to the dark blue of a newborn evening. Having crossed into night, I watched as the ascending moon, no longer white and pallid, beamed like a golden mirror, lighting up the sky with a satin sheen in every direction.

Meanwhile, the cloud pillows that had appeared at dusk now converged into a single immense vertical pillar, towering from the horizon all the way above me. Impenetrable to illumination, the billowing juggernaut of a cloud stayed shadowy even as the bright moon vividly outlined its monolithic shape from behind.

A little later, the sky altered again. I looked for the cloud pillar but it was gone. Broken up by the air currents, it was reshaped into a spectacular new form, that of a colossal celestial hawk. Silvery and translucent, the fantastic bird of prey filled the sky as its outstretched wing fanned through miles of open space. In breathtaking unison, the shining moon came to rest perfectly inside the hawk’s head, becoming the bird’s dazzling eye. And there it stayed for a while.

Inevitably, the winds returned to disperse the cloud for good. When the time came, the once mighty cloud gently divided itself into delicate white sails, each set adrift on its own silent course across a sea of stars and a creamy ocean of moonlight. Now, high above and with the sky all to its own, the moon finally asserted herself as mistress of the night. Like a lovely host entreating me with her hospitality, she then softly bathed my surroundings in her glow that I might continue to stay. I happily obliged.

As I kept watch, I reflected on the past hour in which I had just witnessed one of the most memorable moonrises in my life. Yet not out of ingratitude, it all felt so fleeting. From the very start, the moonrise never stopped changing, never stopped remaking itself as it moved irresistibly from one beautiful moment to the next. Each moment was precious in its own different way and each departed in its own different way, never to return. Yet however short-lived each moment may have been, I felt happy to be alive exactly where I was. I felt free.

It was then that I remembered something – something I heard elegantly phrased not too long ago when I was watching the hit fantasy series True Blood (like Twilight, it’s part of the recent wave of sympathetic vampire stories that have captured the imagination of a global audience). It comes by way of a scene early in the story, shortly after the heroine meets the vampire hero who would become her protector. Talking aimlessly about their new-found friendship, the heroine decides to ask the hero what it is that keeps vampires alive. “Magic,” he replies nonchalantly. She promptly responds with laughing disbelief, refusing to accept that someone as analytical as he hadn’t found a logical mechanism to explain his biology when science had long ago done the same for people. So he returned the question to her.

“You think it’s not magic that keeps you alive?” he asked poignantly. “Just because you understand the mechanics of how something works doesn’t make it any less of a miracle, which is just another word for magic. We’re all kept alive by magic.”

Checking the time in the cold December air, I finally readied myself to leave the field. As I took one last long look at the moonlit sky, I knew I had been touched by something that can only be rightfully called a miracle of creation. However fleeting it may have been, however much I logically understood how it worked, it pleases me to think that maybe it’s the kind of miracle that only Divine Providence could leave behind for us as proof that there is something else at work in the world, something meant to inspire our spirits and give life to our dreams.

That’s if you believe in miracles. And if you believe in being moonstruck as I do, what is a miracle really if not just another word for magic?





POSTSCRIPT: I just want to acknowledge all those Cyrano friends who have shared the moonrise with me at my favorite field. Let me just say that I love being there with you, sitting together on that picnic mat under the stars, drinking wine and conversing unhurriedly with the breeze in our faces while everything around us is bathed in a soft, dreamy glow. You need only ask anytime and I’ll be happy to share it as often as you wish.





1. Triccia - March 5, 2012

i was there alex… beautiful.

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