Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Moon Shadow and Other Delights

There is a narrow road, ruler straight, that takes you out of my tiny village. Vo-Tech Road, (paved), appears to dead-end at a tiny school, but when you drive up on it, you see that the road takes a hard left. Once you make that left turn, you leave behind all buildings. Wide pastures stretch out on either side of this short bit of road, which does dead end at Rice School Road, (mostly paved). Straight ahead at the T intersection there, is a cow pasture.

Yesterday, I was driving Ol' Red down Vo-Tech toward the pasture. Did you know that herd animals almost always graze in the same direction? Seriously, check it out. It was already fairly late in the day, the sun was still up but dusk was not that far off. The cattle had been grazing all day, and I guess were mostly done eating, because when I drove up on them, they were spread out, all facing the road, and nearly all of them were staring at me. Disconcerting, and yet funny. Have you ever faced a herd of Angus crosses regarding you contemplatively? No? Me either, until yesterday. I had to laugh. I asked them, "What are you looking at?" and got no reply, but one oddly marked calf, ruddy brown with white knee socks and a big white heart on its forehead, started ambling toward me, with what I can only guess was a hopeful expression on its face. ("Hey. Hey. You got any calf meal for me?) Side note, I've tasted sweet feed, it's actually delicious. Oh, shut up, we were kids and we all tried it and it wasn't my idea anyway.
So, yeah, I find looking at cows looking at me amusing. I'm lucky to live here.
Last night, the weatherman promised clear skies, so I went outside to see the stars. I was stunned by how bright it was! On a dark night, I can see the Milky Way from my front porch, yet the first thing I noticed when I looked up last night was that the stars were washed out. Glancing down, I saw myself. My shadow, clearly delineated on the grass. I took a few steps toward the street, turned and gazed, and there was the moon, glowing white and round as a silver dollar. The night insects sang all around me, but the frogs were silent.
 I know you can all see the moon, too, wherever you are. Even the brightest city lights can't completely fade it from view. What makes last night's moon shadow so special to me, though, is that I have the darkest, most velvety nights to act as contrast. My shadow will fade to black with the waning moon over the next couple of weeks, until finally there is no trace of me on the grass. The stars will arch overhead with cold fire and the Milky Way will once again cut a swath from horizon to horizon.
Then, like a curtain rising on a new act, the moon will wax and again, and resume her prominence in the night sky.
I'll say it again, I am lucky to live here.

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