When the bird and the book disagree, always believe the bird.
–John James Audubon
I had just read that quote last night before bed. And I’d noted its resonance with the sense of disconnect I’d been feeling from my home beacon of nature this spring, as the world waked up outside, the birdsong changed and pierced the walls with recharged exuberance, as the big wind– in all its brutish bluster– could not. While the walls protected me from the botanical gang rape of pollen season, particularly debilitating in this body, I felt bereft, my own aliveness as muted in its reach for fellowship as the birdsong was through these sheltering walls.
I rose in this dark morning to glimpse the lunar eclipse predicted in my Llewelllyn’s Pocket Planner. It should have been underway now. But it wasn’t. As I puttered through my morning routine, I monitored the moon’s descent, which never showed the slightest dent, no matter how I squinted.
The book says there should be an eclipse, I mused, shaking myself from its spell and remembering the Audubon quote, but I’m going with the moon.
The evening before, as I had crept out onto the dark deck to first glimpse the rising full moon, she was already high enough in the sky to be “eclipsed” by the patio roof. But her bright white luminosity spilling onto the woody rose brambles and the deck posts splashed like a siren’s call into my eyes. Just that sight stirred me; and when I stepped out of the shadow and locked with her gaze, I felt recognized, reminded, included, as a mother always includes.
So this morning when I rose, I looked for her again, on the other wall of the sky, as dawn already glowed in the east. There she was, lower, bigger, pale amber. But through the windows, she seemed static, more distant and, somehow, more of a “he.”
The only reason I could think for this was that my mind was holding her amid a theoretical context, imposing the expectations of Mr. Llewellyn’s written stage directions and trying to read them into her understated performance. She wasn’t conforming.
Once I loosed her from the image that I was trying to see —the shadows of her antagonists—she reclaimed her autonomy as a player and hung again in her own aura of charisma—some projected by me, some by the sun, and some, surely and mysteriously, her own.