Recently, I’ve developed a silly and almost disturbing new hobby. I came into it completely by accident. Recently, I’ve had a deep, urgent, and almost primal need to take photos of the moon.
Can’t you just see me? I go out to walk the dog—usually in an old t-shirt and some funky capri-type pajama bottoms—and I see the moon. And I just have to take pictures of it. I grab my pocket-sized digital camera and in the flimsiest flip-flops I own, I begin creeping through the crunchy leaves behind the empty house next to me and then the house beyond. By now, I’ve realized that I’m not invisible and that quite possibly, those new neighbors I haven’t met yet are eyeing me suspiciously through their back windows, wondering whether I’m dangerous enough to call 911 about.
The moon you see pictured above was taken in just such circumstances by yours truly, about two nights ago. Thankfully, the new neighbors did not call 911.
I can’t explain this need. And actually, now that I think about it, it isn’t just recently that I’ve felt this need. I have moon pictures cluttering up my hard drive and thumb drives from lots of other nights. I find the moon to be so captivating. On nights like last night and the night before, it’s really hard to believe that that beautiful, shiny beacon of hope in the sky is really just a big ol’ dark, cold rock hanging there. It has absolutely no light of its own.
I identify with the moon a lot. I’m a big, dark, cold rock. Years of abuse and pain have helped to make me that way. I’ve hardened myself and set up all kinds of defensive mechanisms to keep from getting hurt anymore. I’m pretty selfish, actually. I have a lot of wrong attitudes and wrong thoughts. I can be incredibly insensitive and thoughtless. I’ve been known to be critical, judgmental, and unforgiving. I’m ugly and pitted and cold.
Until the sun shines on me.
Okay, I just cringed while I was typing that, because I think that to a lot of people that will come across as trite or cliché. And maybe it is, but it’s also true. The past has made me into that hard, cold, ugly rock. And there is nothing I can do to change that—the past or what it’s made me into. Believe me, I’ve tried. I tried to be good enough, but when I couldn’t, that just made me more depressed and angry. I tried to anesthetize myself, but nothing could make me numb enough. Not cigarettes or alcohol or sex or pills. And really, all of these things just made me uglier and darker and harder and gave me more scars to try to heal from and hide from.
Sometimes, I see people around me sinking into the dark and the cold and I ache for them. How do they live without the sun? Because living without the sun almost killed me. Still today, every time I forget where the sun is, I begin to die a little. And so seeing others around me, hurting and dark and cold, it makes me physically hurt. Because I know that there’s a way out of the dark. I know that there’s a refuge from the cold…
And so I chase the moon and I try to reflect the sun, sometimes in my pajamas and flip-flops, in my neighbors’ backyards.