We almost refuse. The bank of clouds to the east seems much too thick to allow a view of the rising moon. But the night calls to us, and we respond.
We take a seldom~used path, and let it wind us this way and that until we find our spot, its trampled grass showing it to be a favorite resting place for deer. That’s good enough for us. We ourselves need a place to rest, a patch of nurturing Earth to bring us back to center after summer’s wild ride.
We step off the path, put our things down. Making a slow circle, we greet each direction in turn. We then sit beneath that large expanse of darkening sky and quiet ourselves. The still waters of the lake stretch out before us, with magnificent mountains rising across the valley to the north and west. Above us, billowy clouds are lit from a moon we cannot see.
Gnats and the occasional mosquito consider making a nuisance of themselves, but their presence summons a group of nighthawks, the gymnasts of the bird world. In crazy, drunken, joyful arcs they swoop and soar as they feed, white wing bars glowing in the night sky. They fly so near that their fluttering is felt, as well as seen and heard.
And then, suddenly and quite spectacularly, the moon clears the hillside behind us, moving into a patch of clear sky. It shines out huge and white and breathtakingly beautiful in the glory of its fullness.
There is a palpable sense of aliveness in this place. The very air seems to hum with it. We speak in hushed tones or not at all, as folks do in church. Fitting, for we know that we are in the presence of the sacred.
My companion, stepdaughter whom I have known since she was a little thing of three years, speaks softly of her own journey. She shares with such wisdom and wonder that my heart breaks at the beauty of her.
This is not a wounding heartbreak, but an enlivening one. I am broken open by this night, by the natural world offering itself so freely, by the radiance of this woman grown. And in the breaking open, I become more fully alive.
I am also in love, in both senses of that phrase. I actively love this sweet earth and all who walk with me upon it. I also know that I exist quite literally IN love. I feel myself surrounded by it and held within it.
Love is everything. It is the only thing, actually…the alpha, the omega and the magic that fills the space between. We are immersed in a sea of love. Our task is to know it and then act out of that felt experience.
Rather simple in theory, but harder in practice. But that’s okay. We have a lifetime to learn. That is, after all, why we are here.