"The sight of the huge world put mad ideas into me, as if I could wander away, wander forever, see strange and beautiful things, one after the other to the world's end."
- C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
I can't say what it is about being up here that I love, that puts me at a different ease than anything else. I'm no child, I don't look for fairies or angels. And though it's no spiritual heaven, I wonder if that trips at the reason: that up here I am heavenward, not so much up as away, apart. As a hundred intimates and I plow through perfect white cloud in a little humming machine, the worries and unrelenting questions fall earthward, corralled in the geometries of midwest farmland, diverted into the hollers of the Blues and Smokies, disoriented in the plains and deserts of the West. And I am left with nothing between me and the words that seem to have been waiting for me up here with the clouds.
“While I, haunted by a magic tune,
should know to come in out of the moon.”
Paul Frances Lowe, my grandfather
The moon is a strange fascination, in part for the duration of my love for it. To lie in my dark room and feel its cool brightness even through closed eyes, finding none of the spooky and suspect notions of ancestors... Though these days, I can’t miss that those ancestors believed gazing at the moon caused seizures. Lunatic, indeed. But it’s more than beauty; it’s the wonder and reminder of light in darkness, of the power of reflection, of watchfulness, of fullness, of just being. The moon does nothing special; it just passes something along. And it’s always been a comfort to me, the surest way to slide into sleep and peace.
"For whatever we lose, like a you or a me,
it is always ourselves we find at the sea."
- e. e. cummings, [maggie and millie and molly and may]
This has circled my heart and clutched at my memory for the dozen years since my fingers first pressed to the verse. Crashing surf or gentle lapping, smooth sand or rocky outcroppings, from land or vessel--the sea brings me home to the girl who wandered beaches instead of streets, who spoke with friends and imagined lovers, who sang into the wind and wondered how far it could carry before the notes dissolved. The sea and I are different every time we meet, but there is a heartbeat in me that finds a syncopated natural rhythm with the waves. Regardless of coast or temperature, the sea steeps me in history, and in the unchanging weight of the everlasting.