Monday, June 12, 2017


Photo courtesy of Pix Web on Flickr

2 a.m. and suddenly I'm wide awake. I feel in the dark for my glasses and creep on silent feet to the kitchen. No need to flip any switches. The soft glow of moonlight illuminates the kitchen, the patio and the garden beyond. I step outside and see that last night’s full moon is alive and well and riding high, a buttery blur in the humid, navy blue air. I hear a quail calling from the bushes. The air vibrates with the steady beat of insect music.

I have such an easy life, so much to be grateful for, the sudden, overwhelming sadness that woke me seems churlish, but sometimes, the other side, the downside, the things I try to jolly my way through in the daylight, will be acknowledged, usually like this, in the depths and the lonliness of the night.

It’s almost seen as an offense to be sad in America. There must be a cure for it, a therapist who’ll talk you through it, or a pill you can take, though, in recent months, there’s a lot to be sad about – a lunatic in the white house for one thing, gun violence on some street corner every day, and terrorists trying to blow us all up. And yet, most of the time, I’m cheerful.  My outlook is ninety percent positive. But, once in a while, my optimism gets beaten down. Like now.

My father, whom I adored, died when my first child was barely a year old. I have never gotten over that. How could God, the Universe, take that lovely man, that gentleman of nature, away so that his grandchildren never knew him? I dream of how they’d have loved him, and he them, but he was whisked away at fifty seven. Makes me want to beat something with my fists. But I know in calmer moments that life (or something cruder) happens, death too, and I’m just a speck, railing against forces I barely understand. Didn’t some famous person once say we’re born, we mewl awhile and then we die, and the dust settles over us as though we never were – or words to that effect? Silently I ask my dad to watch over the grandchildren he never knew.

“Do not worry,” the nuns told us, quoting from the bible….

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"

 So, most of the time, I don’t. I try not to die a thousand deaths before the real one, except on nights like this when the shadows lie in wait for me under the bed, and pounce when I swing my legs over the edge and grab me by the ankles, as I always feared, as a child, that they would, prompting me to call out to my mother so she could fend them off.

Except now I do battle alone. And when they grab my ankles there’s nothing for it but to go to the kitchen and explain to them that they need to leave – and not come back.

I have my writing pad with me. Quietly I lift a chair into a pool of moonlight and start to write though I can barely see the page. I keep the pen connected to the paper so I‘ll know to move it down a bit with each line. I’ve never written by moonlight before and it makes me smile. It feels as though I'm tapping into energies that would be driven back by artificial light. It’s so peaceful out here, just the moon gleaming on the water, the dark silhouettes of  trees, the occasional bird call, the insistent insect chorus - and me.

My pen falls silent and I just sit. The moon glows. The quail and the insects carry on regardless. God's in His heaven and He knows what He's about. My head and my heart fill with peace. I take my pad and my pen, go back inside and sleep like a baby.


Marigold Jam said...

I am so glad that you found peace from your troubles and that the quiet moonlight proved balm to your soul that night. You are not alone in having such episodes and I often think that such emotions can make us more tolerant and empathetic to others and so can be seen as a plus perhaps? We have to have down times to enable us to truly appreciate our ups I think. Thanks for sharing.

Elephant's Child said...

I am so glad that you found solace in your quiet time with the moon. Some days I think being sad/frightened/angry is the only rational response to the world. Except it is so often wasted energy. If I cannot change things I do my best to let them go (and of course) sometimes fail.

Colette said...

I can't help but think the sad times have meaning and purpose.

Molly Bon said...

MJ --- I think there's not enough silence in our lives. We seem to be surrounded by artificial noise - all the time. (I don't count the sounds of nature as noise.) We need quiet times to reconnect with what we value most and not just slide mindlessly through our days.

EC --- Wise woman!

Colette --- If we were happy and chipper all the time we wouldn't appreciate it!

Sabine said...

Thank you Molly, for writing down what I needed to read. There is a place and a time for feeling sad. It helps to get on with the whole chaos of living.

It always feels like a gift for me when I wake on a full moon night and step into the light for a while. I remember my amazement when I discovered that the moon - luna - is (a) female (noun) in Latin and English and French and most other languages and cultures apart from my native language, where she is sternly referred to as 'der Mond', which makes it sound like addressing an army general.

Your memory of your father particularly resounded with me, I miss my MIL very much, she died far too young and so many events in our lives would have been easier with her loving support.

Molly Bon said...

Sabine --- I was glad to read your comment. This post came from my heart but, after it was out there, I thought maybe it would be seen as whiny which I was not trying to do. People say you have to let go of the past, but it is what the present evolved from. That I miss my father still, after forty years, doesn't mean I haven't accepted that he's gone, only that I wish my children could have known him. Maybe,in another life, they will.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

No , it's not whiny to continue to miss someone . I know how much my mother would have loved her grandaughter's sons and how they would have loved her as we all did ... and still do , years after her death .
You can't get rid of the past . It's part of who you are .

Dee said...

Dear Molly, this is a lovely reflection. thank you for sharing it. Like you,I was educated by nuns from kindergarten through college and so I have many memories of solicitous words they said. But my mother's words meant more. She died at 58 when I was 32 and I miss her still. Like you I do not begin to understand the Universe and the Oneness of which I feel a part. And like you, I sometimes wake in the dark and feel a void. It is then that I go to that deep center of myself where Oneness dwells and I find not only peace but joy. That is what I wish for you in those nighttime hours when the moons enlightens your face and brings the beauty of a madonna. Peace.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Beautifully written. I'm glad the moonlit night brought you peace.

ganching said...

A nice reflection. My experience of loss as time passes is that you get over it and you never get over it.

dianne said...

oh Molly ... i have come back to read this post over and over ... and it touches my Heart each time ... moonlight and memories and melancholy ... and hope ... i miss my dad, too

Molly Bon said...

SAW - Sometimes you have to be all alone with yourself to hear what really matters.

Ganching - Well put. Obviously I haven't been going around for forty plus years with a long face because my dad died so young. So yes, I got over it. In another way I'll never be over it.

Dianne - I guess it's part of being human. Death of loved ones (and ourselves) is one of the few guarantees we get.

Molly Bon said...

S&S - Amen to that!

Dee - Thank you Dee.