Saturday, April 8, 2017

Interlude One: Reflection in Blue

When I was still working with Julie, she once asked me, “What was the last happy memory you have?”

There have been several, but they are often tainted by some form of heartache, so I reached for one from my childhood.

I said to her, “I remember being eight years old, and seeing the moon at dusk. I was standing on a neighbor’s lawn, and my parents walked across the street to come get me. My parents and I went to the mall that night. I bought a Ghostbuster’s action figure (it was Peter Venkman!) Then we went home.”

Julie smiled a little, and even laughed. She wondered why I chose that memory. I explained to her that it was because of the mood associated with it. The sky was a perfect shade of azure (a color word I often overuse in my writing). The moon looked as if it were made of chalk. The idea that I could see the moon in day time fascinated me as a child. It still does fascinate me. I can’t get over that something that symbolizes night is visible in the day. The stars are always out as well. It’s just that the Earth reflects so much of the sun’s rays during the daytime, that one cannot see them. They are always there, even though we don’t think of them.

After my mother’s death, I got into the habit of finding a secluded spot to see the stars. This was difficult where I was living at the time, as there was so much light pollution about. The black canvas of the night sky was drowned out by the nearby city. Even the porchlights of nearby houses, which glittered like jewels in the hills, competed with the stars, and won. Still, I found a place and I’d look at them. I could even see a faint gossamer strand of The Milky Way, which is hard to do where I lived then.

As a child, I’d sometimes look at the stars, and be slightly frightened. Though I pressed on, and would try to identify each constellation. The fear was from the thought of “The Heavens,” which I associated with heaven, the afterlife, and death. I had this vision of souls wandering among the clouds above, as if they were harvested from death. The heavens were where God dwelt, along with the dead.

That’s how a child thinks, imaginative, and yet concrete. Yet, I couldn’t see gods or the dead in the sky, I felt they were there. It wasn’t until I put aside that kind of horror show thinking that I realized it isn’t the dead in the heavens; it’s us. We are among the stars, twenty-four-seven. The heavens are a place for the living, for we can wonder, and wander about them. From that point on the skies took on a new meaning. They became a garden in the night, where one could gaze on the light of distant suns, as if they were flowers in bloom, eternally. Distant planets were like continents on distant shores, across a black void of an ocean.

On a spring day like this, as the sun sets, I see the blue light again. It was that same blue light that would filter through the front windows of my childhood house. It tinted everything, and everyone in the living room a fine shade of, you guessed it, azure. It was the only time the house looked beautiful to me. The place was always messy; crammed with my toys, and my mother’s Pennsylvania Dutch decorations. But with that blue wallpaper, with the little roses on it, reflecting the rays of the setting sun…there was a somber beauty to it all.

I see that blue tint, and I’m transported back. I’m an eight-year-old boy again, with a Member’s Only jacket. I’m wearing a Miami Vice t-shirt. I have camouflage sneakers, with red socks! But mostly, I’m just there. I’m in the moment, and not thinking ten steps ahead. You lose that when you’re an adult. You must think ahead, because one needs to plan, and make sure there’s nothing to worry about. That’s a good thing, in a way. But one needs to find a balance between in the moment, and looking to the future.

The future seemed so distant then. Instead, it came toward me like a rushing wave. Then, it engulfed me. Here I am now, thirty-odd years later, and it feels like it all passed in a blink. Funny, I don’t feel older. Yet, I can hear it in my voice. I’ll see a gray hair, and think, I’m still a kid. I’m not old enough to have gray hair. I guess time moves on, regardless of where you are in life…mentally or physically. That being said, I do live in the now. I still reflect, but I don’t reminisce as much as I used to.

This is a musing about time, place, and sensation. Not a lament over that lost time, or place. The sensation is still there. Whatever I find in the future, and where I go, will be better than where I came from. I just know it.    

I once painted the walls of my old bedroom blue. It’s a room that no longer exists, as the house was torn down. But it was such a dark shade of electric blue. I was bathed in that blue light every day. I once wrote on the wall next to the bedroom door, “Is this the end?” But someone, I knew it wasn’t. It’s never the end, because there is always more to see.

Now, the sky over the city is turning black. Clair de Lune is playing, and I’m losing all sensation of time and place. I’m in another time, another place. It’s one that I haven’t experienced yet. The moon is full. Its light shines through the windows of the kitchen, and casts its blue light on everything. There’s a gentle summer breeze that makes the curtains dance. There’s someone waiting for me at the table. She smiles at me. Then I know, I’m home.

Text Copyright Riley Joyce 2017

Photo of the moon in daylight: 


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