Though the temperature has dropped about twenty degrees as the twilight deepens and a strong wind picks up, it is still hot enough for me to keep the house shut up. Maybe in an hour or two I will open all the windows and let the night flow through my house in all its breathiness, refreshing what has been bottled and air-conditioned all day. There is something about being able to let in the “real” air here in Colorado that makes me love living here. On the east coast the heat and humidity lock in and the nights rarely cool down much after a blistering day such as it was here. Last I saw, the outdoor temperature gauge in my car read 103 degrees.
I was standing out on my little patio a few minutes ago, looking up at the not-quite-full moon staring back down at me in the gray twilight. The sky slowly darkened behind it. Little bits of cloud were blowing across the sky, sometimes making the moonface look as if its mouth was open in a great, surprised “O.” Though I love the cooling air and the sound of crickets chirping, thoughts of the fires all around me are never far from my mind. I wish I had the capacity of the children I can hear playing in the summer night a few houses away to live so much in the moment. My dog, Mojo, comes out to sit with me in the windy moonlight for the few minutes before I go back in to write. She hates this strange too-early-in-the-season intensely hot weather as much as I do.
My dogs are good company and follow me around my house any time I move from one room to another, but I am getting tired of the absence of another human being in my space. My daughter has moved on to a life beyond college and the anchor I felt holding the space for my children to have some sort of home base seems to serve no purpose now. I feel joy in the realization that I have created a life for myself very different than that of when I was married, but I have found myself reconsidering relationship in a way more serious than it has been for a long time.
I listen to a CD of an acoustic guitarist playing the most beautiful and lilting melodies and I feel drawn to leave this writing and go sit on the patio in the light of the moon. Due to high atmosphere smoke the light is that funny color I’ve only ever seen out over the ocean from the beaches of my childhood. It is an odd sensation, this sliding back and forth in time from present to past, from marriage to childhood to present once more. I know it is simply the life moving in me again after a long silence. The writer, the painter, the moon watching child is reawakening, surprised to find herself sitting in a deck chair on a warm and windy night, full of wonder. “Was the spot I am sitting in now once covered by that ancient inland sea? Does the moon remember?”
Perhaps it is time to look up at the moon one final time, purse my lips in a great “O,” and howl my lungs out. Oh if only I still lived out in the country where I could do that with abandon instead of here, in a little subdivision of houses only a few dozen feet away from my neighbors. I’ll have to hope you can hear me in your mind. Imagine a middle-aged woman, milky-skinned in the night with a large dog at her feet, a small one in her lap, her head thrown back in the now-black air, open-mouthed and howling, howling at the moon.