Sunday, December 21, 2008

All I Need To Know

In December there's usually not a lot of daylight left over Sandhill when I get home, but last Friday I got there earlier than usual and was able to see the rather pitiful state into which the backyard had fallen.

There was a lone and empty hummingbird feeder dangling from one shepherd's hook and an overgrown hanging basket of mint from another. The dandelions that I had so energetically pulled up by the roots and left to dry in the unseasonable warmth the previous weekend had become piles of slimy green mush in the week's rain. It was all a stark and embarrassing contrast to the bright and festive inside where the tree stood so humbly regal in the corner of the living room and candles stood like posted guards on all the tabletops.

I'd gotten most of the dead mint stems plucked and had started on the dandelion piles when I got the oddest sensation that someone had just tapped me on the shoulder. I stood up quickly and turned to see a what looked like a huge egg yolk rising slowly, as on a hydraulic lift of some kind, over the horizon. With the perspective of a couple hundred yards the bright yellow bulb seemed to stretch the full depth of the tree line that marks the edge of the farm and it felt almost as though the rising had a pulse, that the gravitational pull that creates the tides was reaching far inland to draw me farther out into the wake.

I've been a full-moon watcher for years now. Each one makes me melancholy for all the ones I missed before I started acknowledging the wonder and I am always enraptured by the liquid silver light that spills out over the landscape.

But this one was different. This full moon, at the end of the year, just before Christmas, had something to say and, in order to make itself heard over the din, it had come nearly 19,000 miles closer than usual. When something, or somebody, goes to that much trouble to get my attention I tend to drop what I'm doing and listen.

So I stopped. Got still. Took a deep breath. Listened to the moon.

Funny thing: The voice I heard was remarkably like my own and the words were familiar ones. "You know all you need to know."

For someone whose college major focused on popular culture and current events, I am remarkably uninformed these days. I don't watch CNN or Fox News. I don't have a blackberry and learned to text only because it is my niece Kate's preferred form of communication. I have two friends who save their People magazines for me so that when I visit for the weekend I can at least familiarize myself with what passes for celebrity these days and not go out in public sounding foolish by asking questions like, "Who is Lindsay Lohan?"

But I know all I need to know.

I know that truth will always win out. I know that patience, especially the kind that is tinged with pain, is both the result of and the source of strength. I know that the only real power I have is the power to choose.

I know that the dearest and deepest attachments are the ones that cannot be explained. I know that silence is a language too few people speak. And I know that Christmas, like the moon, has a message.

And all we have to do is listen.

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