Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Moon Over Pittsburgh

Two nights ago, I lay down late to an uneasy bed, and noticed as soon as the light was extinguished an unusual, unearthly glow, though I was unable for a moment to identify its source.

As dark gave way to gradations of dark, and the familiar shapes of my room slowly emerged from shadow, I realized that hovering over all of it was a ghostly blue halo over my bedroom window.

In my bedroom, the main window is crowned by a large half-circle of remarkably well preserved leaded glass, containing concentric semi circles of allternating oranges and blues, from saffron / indigo at its heart to paler, almost yellow and sky hues at its outer rim. The oranges predominate, and the window is most notable by mid-morning, the exact time season-dependent, when the morning sun sets the room afire.

In my living room, above the television, there's a much less interesting leaded window -- small, rectangular, set high in the bricks, set in eight equal lights, separated by lead bands, each light a milky, rough pane with nothing but its opacity to distinguish it. I have often seen the moon through that window, and only then is the window beautiful, worthy of note.

Two nights ago, however, I was astonished to sense the moon lurking just outside the perimeter of the bedroom window, its presence inferred by a blue-white glow infusing the window's leftward region, its location identifiable by the visual equivalent of locating a sound around a corner, a cognitive triangulation entirely transparent but for its result: an easy certainty as to relative positions.

I tried to recall: in five years in this apartment, had I ever seen the moon through that window before? It seemed to me that the answer was no. Even if it had occurred at odd hours, or infrequently, surely one of countless dozens of nights when I lay awake alone, or giggling foolishly past the witching hour with a lover, or just laying awkwardly regretting an indiscretion while a wrong woman lay snoring gently beside me, surely I would have seen it once in nearly two thousand nights.

It was beautiful, the light spectral but comforting, the sort of night-time thought that drains one of the desire to sleep for all the thought's involutions, and the many paths that invite passage from within it . . . the fear that it will be gone in the morning, when too many brilliant thoughts have lost their pallor to the daylight's relentless bleaching effect.

And now I know why it happened, and have something approaching confirmation that it was, indeed, a singular occurrence.


Blogger Rob said...

The moon is closer to the horizon than in a long time. We noticed the effect here, too!

3:49 PM  

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