Thursday, September 09, 2010

Caught Between Sunrise and Moonset

Brian made a comment on my last sun/moon related post, saying one hardly gets to see the two in the sky together. What follows is an account of a time that happened.

moonset
I wakened in a moonbeam slanting through the still-dark sky though I could tell by the quality of gray that it must be after six a.m. The light came through the western window and lay in a contoured path over the quilt. I stretched my hand and let the moonbeam lay in my palm; to have closed my fingers over it would have extinguished its magic.

I reached instead for my robe and slipped down the stairs to light the kettle for tea. With mug in hand I went out into the early morning to watch the moon descend. Over my shoulder the eastern sky was just beginning to pale. I stood entranced, looking first in one direction and then the other, never able to see both the rising sun and the setting moon at once though I knew the waxing and waning lights were simultaneous and single-sourced.

It put me in mind of beginnings and endings, how one is always the source of the other. As I turned full circle in the chill dawn, watching the growing daylight dininish the moon's brialliance, I could see between surise and moonset the workings of the world; always, always the slow turn from beginning to end to beginning, on and on, the circle spiraling up and up without pause, always different, always the same.

My feet were touching ground they had danced on in childhood, but the grass I stood on then had died and renewed itself a thousand times over. The last of the pink phlox that bloomed bravely in the waning season of the border garden were descendants of those my mother planted, no longer connected to her hands save through my memory. Caught between daylight and darkness, I was made to understand the that the two exist simultaneously. It is only my limited vision that forces me to perceive one at a time.

The soft rush of traffic in the distance gradually became a muted thunder. Two cars passed me standing there, one headed toward the moon, the other into the sun. A few small birds twittered in the roadside hedge, crows called across the meadow and a small chill breeze brushed my cheek. I kept turning in awe, watching the light change the landscape into everyday ordinariness, realizing suddenly that it had been extraordinary all along.

Try as I might, I could only face one direction. The maples that fringed the feet of the western mountains glowed scarlet in the fading moonlight. The trees that protected the brook to the east lifted their spires into a rose-colored sky. For a moment, my entire world was awash in gold-tinged pink. The moon and sun faced one another, one haloed in mist, the other surrounded by pale light. Caught in the middle, I turned slowly, face lit first by moon glow and then by sunlight until at last I stood still, closed my eyes, and saw them both at once.

sunrise

14 comments:

Brian Miller said...

you captured a brief intimate moment between the king and his queen...a wonderful telling..

deb said...

um . wow.

Molly said...

I love the parallel with beginnings and endings---food for thought for the rest of the day......

Tabor said...

Yes, it is magic.

brianhayes said...

"Try as I might, I could only face one direction."

Oh how I recall that. I was near the Yukon on a rise of gravel hi-way. Each horizon filled, the east softly yellow and orange and the west calm white and blue. And both orbs were huge, a common mirage in the north, a dozen times larger. Maybe a Whirling Dervish could see each horizon at once. I bobbled back and forth in happiness and awe.

Barbara said...

They make a great tag team, yes? And they do so much more than simply demarcate time.

Stafford Ray said...

Just had to come back to read this again. Everyone who loves witnessing the start of the day will feel this and love it.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I was boing to say what Brian said, but he said it first.
;-)
Beautiful.
jj

Pauline said...

thanks, Brian - that particular moment happened years ago but I can still see the sky in my mind's eye...

deb - :)

Molly - it affected my day, too

Tabor - indeed. And still is :)

Very cool, Brian H!

Barbara, how true!

Thanks, Stafford! So glad you came back :)

JJ - it's good to hear :)

focusfinder said...

That was quite a duality you experienced.

Kristen Haskell said...

You created such a lovely image. I really enjoyed this.

Meggie said...

A lovely post, to savour. And re-read.

Marion said...

Unbelievable post, Pauline...I agree with Meggie...a post to re-read over and over. It actually brought tears to my eyes...it is so beautiful.

You write like an angel;each post is exquisite, truly.

Mary said...

Wow, what a fantastic post. Such beautiful writing. I was googling simultaneous sun rise, moon set trying to find the word for it and your blog came up. Such a treat! I'll look forward to reading more.