Thursday, February 28, 2013

When the moon is blue, pull up a chair

The other night after the blizzard, I had a flashback. Looking out the back window, I noticed soft rabbit curves silhouetted by moonlight against mounds of newly fallen snow. I stood mesmerized by a sweet memory of when Charlie was alive. He had padded over to his water bowl in the middle of the night only to be confronted by a similar sight. His agitated barking woke me, and I padded over to quiet my bucking, barking dog. It did cross my mind that if Charlie’s enemy invader rabbit had been chomping tips of my blueberry bush branches, it would have become my enemy, too, and this scene might have played out differently. As it was, however, said rabbit nesting unfazed, calm in indigo moonlight so quieted me, I pulled a chair over to the window and nestled Charlie in my lap to watch. There we sat in dark, tranquil silence, wide awake.

What had civilized us—the chair? Yes, partly. It would be hard to attack anything but a tough steak from a seated position. Sympatico? Probably not. Though no longer barking his head off, Charlie’s animal instincts were on high alert; every flattening of the rabbit’s ear, every twitch of the rabbit’s nose was met with a twitch of Charlie’s ear. He never took his big brown eyes off his prey. I, on the other hand, simply basked unblinking in sparkling-diamond snow glow, in the moon’s sapphire illumination of an utterly still world.

So what besides the chair had deflected our chase? The spell of the moon? No. I think it was a sense of a privileged connection. Indulge me a dog-mom’s intuition as I surmise that Charlie knew if he wanted to stay up past his bedtime to watch the rabbit, he needed to be quiet. My contentment was giving this little silken creature I loved so much the privilege of prolonging a fleeting pleasure, and in so doing, receiving the privilege of bathing in blue moonlight with a bunny.

Moments like these cannot be repeated. They are not like the wonder of catching a snowflake on your tongue or watching a snowflake’s lacy edges melt into your mitten. Any snowfall makes this possible, at least for northerners. Southerners, I suppose, might be awed by a rare snow’s sensations. Besides my moonlit vigil with Charlie, my other privileged thrills—witnessing a loggerhead turtle laying her eggs, riding high in a tractor cab to plow a fertile farm field for soybeans, and floating in a hot air balloon above running deer, to name a few—would be ordinary events for a naturalist, farmer, or balloon pilot. But for me, those were rare gifts that quieted my soul.

So if timing and circumstance allow you to commune with nature; or if a beloved child rests his totally trusting head on your shoulder; when a spouse whispers “I love you” just before falling asleep with a smile on his face; when a parent puts her hand on your forearm and blesses you with “I’m proud of you;” if a friend hugs you, really hugs you; or when a pet curls up in your lap to watch a rabbit in blue moonlight—let the warmth wash over you. You can give these moments of pure pleasure in a loved one or a moment, but you can only treasure receiving them as rare gifts. Celebrate these gifts, but not by popping a champagne cork; that makes too much noise. No, pull up a chair. Sit still. Don’t blink. Breathe.

1 comment:

Michelle Van Loon said...

What a lovely remind to stop and smell the roses. Or to take a deep breath, hold it as long as possible, and watch a bunny.

I also heard you missing your furry pal. Those moments of grief are like an ambush, and they seem to come most strongly when we are holding still.

Blessings to you, Jane. D