Smiles of a Summer Night
July 7, 2009 § Leave a comment
(picture has nothing to do with post, except I’d like to be here)
I went out looking for the full moon and found it in the usual place, although the sky can be harder to see in Manhattan than I would like. Tonight it was the trees in the park obscuring my vision, so I cleverly found a spot where I could see the moon clearly, magic rolling off it like the daydreams roll off my tongue (backwards).
There were lots of people, in groups and alone, sitting on the rim of the fountain and on the stone benches. The cool summer air, strangers and moonlight plus streetlights gave it the feel of both crowded stage and lively forest, or maybe a lively forest on Shakespeare’s stage.
I was remembering how when I berate myself for all the failures of my life I have to admit that it wasn’t only depression and fear that stole opportunity but books and nights and this kind of solitary joy that wants as much time as it can get, that scorns society and appointments. I’ve had more than my share of this sweetness, though never enough.
I’m back now (in case the typing didn’t give it away) and sleek little Mouchette is lying beside my desk, a new step in our careful courtship of each other. We’re taking it slowly because the orange lordling gets so jealous, chasing and biting her when I show her favor, and because she’s naturally cautious, and because I give The One so much love I get somewhat cat-bored before it’s her turn. But she’s a kitty who knows how to play alone.
As do I. I’ve been alone since Friday. It becomes narcotic after awhile. Especially with cats and the city and the Internet—sending Charles pictures from my iphone, browsing Facebook—and knowing that if I want to, I can turn on the TV and find Michael Jackson and Sarah Palin, Obama and the Russians, Iranian and Chinese dissidents…
No. I’m not doing that tonight. The cats are starting crazy time: it’s near the stroke of midnight. I like to lie in bed and feel like a benevolent witch as they thunder through the apartment, pounding over my body as if it were furniture, just as my stepchildren did many years ago (though the kids were better at not sinking a foot into my belly).
I used to always make wishes under the full moon, and sometimes they came true, as will happen if you wish 12 times a year for gifts life is profligate with in any case. Tonight I asked for joy in myself and what wildness I can find, inside and out: to be, just a little, like Artemis, Mistress of Animals, virgin goddess of the hunt.
Temple of Artemis, Ephesus