Prettier
by Night

by Lin Stone

 

For the first time in four years I saw the moon tonight.

The missing sin was mine, not the moon's.
I'm willing to bet good money the moon has
not missed a major tide-swelling event in the
past six thousand years.

**    **

Moonlight is the original form of fuzzy logic: Sunlight shows us things as they really are; Moonlight reveals things as they might be. A tree trunk becomes a gnome, a solemn stare becomes a winking eye, a rose bush becomes a castle for fairies and a stretch of scrawny grass becomes a wrinkling sea. As I stood there this evening the moonbeams poured out around me like virgin cream. The stones and the trees glowed in a different way than I'd ever seen them before.

{Why, our home is a thousand times
prettier by night.}

We spend millions on landscapes for our yards in the day, but hide from the beauty which bathes our homes at night for free. Too much reality is never good for us, like a life without sleep. Sweet moons were made for dreaming while we're wide awake, a time when our thoughts can walk on wings. I'm convinced we need those floating hours when time is ethereal.

Inside our walls no shadow falls and those dreams locked within our hearts cannot fight their way free. Beneath the moon my walls were a pulsing glow and every leaf surged with memories that stirred my thoughts of long ago. You can't get that with a rake or a hoe. You can't make your dreams beautiful in the noonday sun.

 

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As I stood there listening to the moonbeams in my trees, I remembered how my dreams once mounted moonbeams like ladders to the sky. The magic of believing life could be different was a magnet, drawing me out onto the pearled grass to dance with silvered splashing feet to unheard melodies with angels I'd never meet.

magical time of nightA creamy moon ruled that night of my first kiss.  I was in love with Sylvia though at that age I knew not how to let her know. A dozen of us came out skipping in the moonbeams that lapped along the blades of grass. We danced, light as angels on swooping wings. I was so light I almost floated as I whirled round and round. Somehow I crashed into Sylvia; my front teeth slammed into her forehead.

Both of us toppled to the earth; she sprawled one way, and I the other. The whole band of kids gathered around us. "What happened?" they cried.

"He kissed me," Sylvia declared in splendor from the grass. "He kissed me!"

I knew in an instant, she had longed for a real kiss to happen even more than had I; {She LOVES me!} I thought as I glowed in wonder. Then that magical moment melted.  As I looked up at my young peers and heard their mocking chuckles purr I denied the charge with every ounce of my being. "Huh uh!"

The shame of it lingers even now; they believed me without a murmur. Little did they know the fires of regret already choking my tiny bosom as I gazed at Sylvia's grief-stricken face in the richness of the night. 

Gone,

GONE, but not forgot.

 

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Are you tired of staring at four neutral-colored walls? Have you noticed that the mauve you painted your room several years ago is no longer en vogue? Whatever your reasons, a new coat of paint is the fastest, easiest and least expensive way to add some pizzazz to your home.

Taking care of your outdoor surfaces pays off when you consider the expense of replacing siding, deck planking, lawn furniture, playsets and more. Not only that, but a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your outdoor living space

Someone once said, Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or beautiful. The old adage rings true today as value-conscious Americans scrutinize where they re spending their money and question whether they are getting the best return on investment -- the largest of which is typically a home.  

What is man that thou art mindful of him?  Do the tides pause to salute an immortal soul when death brushes us by?

Moonlit nights were made for sneaky games too. 
The twins and I would walk to town then dart from
shadow to shadow and "rob from the rich to give to the poor",
though I can't remember any of the loot ever leaving our
hands after we got it. However, one hot summer night they did 
ride two bikes eighteen miles over washboard roads to leave
the better one with me, then "Biggie" rode back home on the
handlebars, with "Littlie" pumping.

 

My first brush with death came beneath a smiling moon. George pulled a knife and swore to scar my face. But the moon was my friend -- and brightly made the scene unreal. The cutting edge of the blade blurred in shadows. I could see the gleam, but not the steel. 
Lightly, smiling, I danced around George, nibbling at his jaw -- his chest -- with my fingers, and tapped his right arm in coup each time he struck. When he recoiled in confusion I would reach out and tickle him some more, laughing at his frantic lunges until everyone there quit worrying about me and began laughing at him too. Cursing, he hurled the knife at my head. I merely laughed, ducked, and tickled him under the chin once more. He turned and fled, bawling in shame, never to come out to play with us again.

The moon was big the night I met the mountain lion too. He had killed a few cows and scared some night workers out of their wits on the ranch.  But we were brave. Amderos and I had built a tree house in the tamaracks that day, thirty feet high, and decided to spend the whole night there.

We had no candles so Mama (unbeknownst to her) gave me a can of lard. We set it afire and basked in the warmth as we munched on melting cookies. (She didn't know about donating them to us either.)  The moon sailed above us in singing arcs as the huge tree limbs swayed in the sagging winds of the night. We told stories of hunts and captures, of the friends we had loved, and the foes we had fought, and finally of ghosts and fiends.  

* * * * * *

The stars had turned lonely and cold when we heard the cougar coming up the tree. I heard the scratches on the rugged bark, the hot breath hissing, and my heart knotted shut with fear. Amderos alone crept to the doorway and peered down. His brown face blanched white at what he saw.

"Nuaai!" he screamed. With no thought for the heat, my hero saved my life. He grabbed the 
blazing can of lard with his bare hands and hurled it down at the lion. There was a terrible 
squall which shook the very floor we were on. Then like a mighty Hercules, Amderos heaved the tin roof off of our tree house -- and leaped out headfirst before it clattered back on top of me.

Branches could not hold him, they cracked in brittle efforts to slow him down, but he still 
beat that lion to the ground. As I peered out over our crumbling walls Amderos was already 
half way home, sprinting in a dead heat. In the bright moonlight I saw the little puffs of smoke smoldering vividly at his heels. Too scared to follow him, I trembled at every sound until the rising sun brought me back to reality.

I look back upon my early life and see a magical time that like the moon, was often full. Then the Williams family bought a television and my friends disappeared to watch Boston Blackie flicker on a silvery screen.

By the year I cowboyed at the Grand Canyon, living beneath a pinon tree in a tent, the moon was my only friend. I read to him from Clifford D. Simak's great novel City, and decanted my emotional first brush with Homer and the pre-Tarzan writing of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

The woman I married first was seen walking in the flowing light of a creamy moon. The shadows were soft, the beams were kind; I must have looked good to her. She put down her hoe and bade me sit on the darkened porch to watch the dual wonders of moonlight and fireflies.

Even though later years threw shadows more harsh in the glaring sun there were times when the moon came up that we would stand there watching as if it were a roaring fire. The sands of time would bathe in bubbling light and our shadows go splashing free. If it was a good time we would walk across the fields of powdered dust until we found a hollow in the hills far from the eyes of man.

Yea, God gave us the sun and the moon and the stars for signs and for seasons in our skies. I was baptized beneath a full moon. The first time I went to the temple, the moon was full. The second time it again billowed full bright against the floating clouds. I found my love for Chellie was deep and real on the night of a full moon. These signs from the moon made the events far more special to me.

Yet for all of this, since coming to live here in the city, I have forgot, first to look, and then to care. What matters it if the moon doth ebb and flow? If we see it not, we have lost the glow. Unknownst to us, it rises, it sets, the magic never wanes.

But now I know, unable to forget, my home is far more beautiful by night. The logic is a little fuzzy, but it feels just right. Beneath the old moon I shall come forth again to spin the old memories like silver coins on the counter top, and they shall dance once more.

 

"The Tyrant ... is obliged to make war ... to keep his subjects occupied ..."  Aristotle.

"I have long been convinced that the idea of liberty is abhorrent to most (men).  What they want is security, not freedom."  H. L. Mencken.

"The inherent right in the people to reform their government I do not deny; and they have another right, and that is to resist unconstitutional laws without overturning the government."  Daniel Webster.

" (A) national debt is ... a curse to a republic ... dangerous to the liberties of the country."  Andrew Jackson.

"arms ... discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property ... Horrid mischief would ensure were (the law-abiding_ deprived the use of them."  Thomas Paine.

"A billion men have since professed (Christ's) way & never followed it."  Thomas Wolfe.

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance.  That principle is condemnation without investigation."  Herbert Spencer

"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."  John Quincy Adams.

"The technique of infamy is to invent two lies and to get people arguing heatedly over which one of them is true."  Ezra Pound.

"Liberty is lost to most men when the cost of resistance to tyranny is deemed higher than the cost of submission ..." Stuart Crane

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Please note:  If you enjoy this essay, download your free copy of Short Stuff, today.

Lin Stone is the author of How To buy Land At Tax Sales, produced by Truman PublishingBrowzer Books has published three other books by Lin Stone:  Short Stuff, Tales From the Light Side and Water, Water.  As an editor Lin has organized several more books.  This article, and many more are available for reprint.  Click HERE for instructions.  

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