Mother, Mistress, Moon

Mother, Mistress, Moon
By Christopher Vera

Note: This essay was published on National Public Radio’s “This I Believe” website.

Sometimes to me the moon is male, jealously pursuing the attentions of the earth whom he believes is in love with the glorious sun. He weeps gently while she sleeps through the night.

But most often I see the moon as female, accompanying me on my long walks through the dark as the mist creeps up over the land from out of the Pacific ocean. Usually she’s a matronly older woman humming softly to me while I walk away my angers and frustrations of the day.

Once in a brief while though, when I gaze up at her in the sky, she’s my young Juliet, looking at me from her bright and lofty perch, waiting for me to recite to her ancient words that men have always whispered to their true loves.

At those times, I stop and forget to breathe and for those long moments while we stare quietly into each other’s face, I can feel the earth turning under my feet. My pulse beats to the vibrations of distant waves pounding against the California shore. I can feel my cells burning as they fire their chemical reactions. When I finally inhale, her perfume is the damp manzanita in the canyon below me soaking in the night’s moisture.

In that moment there is no sound but the autumn breeze picking its way through the tall bones of leafless trees standing like me transfixed while the moon turns her achingly beautiful orbit across the sky.

In that moment I can sense the primal elements churning inside me: earth, air, fire, water. The entire universe is her and I and the small space between us.

In that moment, I am alive and I am here right now.

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