Right around 11 PM now. Cheeks still stinging. Lest I forget these words, I'll lay down here how I paid tribute to the moon tonight:
First I read the kids Owl Moon for approx the fifth straight night. Good story. Sometimes you see an owl and sometimes you don't. Moon did pour in through the window as boys were tucked in. Snug.
Then skated a bit. Rink at the end of the block. I was the only person around. To date not really a skater, but I'm starting to like it. A nice glide feeling and some pleasing sounds made by metal cutting ice. I use a buckthorn staff instead of a hockey stick to offer a little balance support. Contrail cut a slash by that big moon while I was out there. Teenagers in a little four door Saturn kept pulling into the parking lot and then driving off... I think they wanted some space to roll some doob but I'm not really sure. At one point they slowed down and started hollering at me. Well, a person ought to be able to skate in his own neighborhood. So I kept on. Roll it somewhere else or maybe cool out and worry less is what I was thinking. I did at that time think back to being a person of that age and riding around in similar fashion. Riding around. What the hell else was there to do? Ride around. Try to be cool. So I never did skate when I was a kid but I did ride around so here it was odd deal: now skating and scoffing at the riding around.
Well, up and down and up and down the rink - nice glide and green ice and big moon all felt pretty good. Decent way to think on some things and consider the fact that a guy might act like a chump now and then and he might be well served to change his ways. Also think on other things. Listen to ice being cut and think on a few things. Not a bad way to pass an hour. Interspersed with thoughts of what you might do if a car full of teenagers were to stop and challenge the old guy. Well, I had a buckthorn staff and a pretty big knife in my pocket so to be honest I never did get too worried. Beyond practicing speeches I might have said to ward them off. There were also beers in my boots that I left by the bench and those are gone now. IPA.
Finally, I walked into the woods, and set my skates in the snow. Walked in further and stuck that buckthorn staff into the crust and remembered that just weeks ago it had been in that general vicinity, connected to roots. I looked up at that big moon and proceeded to revere it in whatever way I saw fit at whatever moment happened to be in front of me. I looked at it through black curves and branches for a long time. Feet glued to the ground, and hand on staff. Thinking a bit on what a person ought to maintain and what he might change. How he might fully appreciate things. Then to put a cap on things, what I'd hoped would happen happened: four deer came up a draw and proceeded to poke around for maybe ten minutes. This was a remarkable event. I watched their black shapes sniff and pick along, upward and upward, toward my elevation. Sometimes hidden by brush, or dipping out of sight back into the draw... Going silent for a few seconds, and then making themselves known again by crunching snow. Finally, one got to within maybe 30 feet of me. All this while I'd been standing stone still, making no noise. No wind. Dead quiet and dead cold. Dead white and bright around me though. Quite a feeling. Her body came out from behind a snag of brush, and she stood with head raised, staring at me. I couldn't figure what got her onto me. I could see my breath rising in clouds and I wondered if maybe that was my give-away. The other suspicion was that she knows those woods really well, and recognized me as something other than a tree. No buckthorn am I and she likely picked up on that. For whatever reason then, she stared me down for maybe ten seconds, and then bolted. Her three companions followed - making a bit of a ruckus in that tight snow. Back down the draw. I picked up the staff and gave another look at the moon. It'd been a while and I saw that it was obscured by light cloud cover or maybe some other oddity that I can't name. A veil. Walked home in the still-bright light with a thought on poet Larry Gavin and his Wolf Moon work. Maybe a thought on a person's place in the world, and maybe a thought on how a person can be better. Then opened the service door and appreciated warmth that came to me from home.