Plus a bit about why I wrote it.
|I'm not quite sure what to call this. Last session I read a poem “Moonflowers to Moonstone,” after some editing I posted it on Writing.com. I did some editing and some serious reading and testing. It is my feeling that poetry is best when read aloud. Along with the post is an automatic request for others to review a new piece.
In one review an interesting word was used to describe my piece. MOONSTRUCK! It is not a word with which I want to be associated. Dictionary definitions,(yes I looked in several) agree with the idea that one who is moonstruck is a bit deranged or crazy.
I chose a less than scientific way of expressing the relationship between the sun, the moon, the earth, and a phenomenon known to sky watchers who watch the breathtaking aurora borealis. Scientists refer to it as “ions on parade” through our atmosphere guided by the magnetic field of the earth and to a lesser degree the moon.
I tend to express their relationships in more human terms like Mother, Father, Daughter and Son.
The stones, Moonstone, Dark of the moonstone, opals, and others capture light, and amplify it before sending it back to us. Such special gifts brighten our days and enlighten our minds.
The color of the aurora, is reflected and refracted just beneath the surface. No real mystery, the light spectrum from the sun is composed of different colors of light, be it in a rainbow, a prism in a child's hand, cut glass and other things which break ambient light into its components.
Among these is a group of “Chatoyant stones” including tiger eye, cat's eye, some petrified wood and many types of feldspar of which moonstones and “dark of the moon” stones are the primary but not the only members.
These stones were all held in awe by primitive man everywhere they were encountered. There are many legends and “by the fire” explanations for what is inside the stones.
I do not believe that scientific explanations should shoulder aside the old ways of looking at things ie. applying human attributes and relationships between the causes and effects of the special stones which have developed the ability to transform the beauty of natural light into a different form.
The night I met Aurora
I remember a very cold night long ago, I had my covers tucked tightly around me when Grandfather touched my forehead with one finger. As children do I popped instantly awake. The protest in my throat was silenced by the look in his eyes. A man of few words he said, ”Dress warmly and follow me as quietly as possible.”
I slept in long johns. Early winter morning, before the fire was lit, left the bedroom cold enough to see my breath. I looked out my window which had been decorated with the crystalline brush of Jack Frost. The naturally beautiful crystals formed complex patterns waiting for the light of day to display their full beauty. I could not tear my eyes away for a moment.
He gently cleared his throat telling me to hurry. I put on the heavy woolen pants that my mother told me were once a coat that kept a soldier warm in a far off place called “Bastonne.” The army surplus cloth we got from the army base nearby was fashioned by my mother into wonderful things that provided warmth: boot liners, Smaller coats and “Outside” pants. I would not wear them next to my skin ever again after I learned the hard way that to prevent chafing, you had to put padding between your skin and the warm but rough abrasive surface of the wool.
I hurried up behind him, he checked my coat and my mittens to see if they were adequate against the sub-zero temperatures outside. Then he pulled his parka snug about his face exactly like he had done to mine. He lagged behind long enough to make sure the door was left secure for the women, against the cold weather and possible unwelcome intruders of either four or two legged variety.
The snow was so cold that it did not pack well, under our feet it gave of a squawk with each step; as we walked out to the barn, which had a garage that had grown, over a summer, from the side of the original building. The logs of the garage were much newer than the barn. Grandfather had not been an automobile owner long and he enjoyed the mobility that the early 27 Pontiac gave him. It had been well cared for the nearly seventeen years before Grandfather bought it from a friend of a friend. “besides it came with important spare parts to keep it on the road for a long time” he declared to grandmother.
She grumbled “that old fool is going to kill himself in that old heap of rusted junk.”
It saved much time and provided an enlarging assortment of foods comfortably sealed in jars in the cellar. The old woman would sometimes ride with him to Sturgis, to shop for staples and dry goods. Sometimes my mother would ride along too. I never went anywhere, except church of course,with both of the women telling him how to drive. I felt sorry for the old man but it pleased him so very much to drive I guess it evened out.
He touched the door, its almost frozen hinges protested loudly. I settled myself into the right seat and wrapped a soft fur blanket around my bony shoulders. He secured my door carefully before he began his checks under the hood. This machine was not allowed to drip oil. Grandfather would have been busy in seconds tracing the source. “One drip is followed by many others,” He declared to me a few months ago right after he got the car. The car may well have been the only six banger L Head Pontiac in the world with oiled rawhide gaskets.
Soon the engine was humming smoothly and we set off into the night. A few twists and turns brought us to a gap in the barbed wire with a two rut road pushed deep into the frozen mud of the road. I rose up to replace the gate in its proper place. He shook his head no. I now realize that he wanted to keep me warm as possible as long as possible. He pulled off into a wide spot where he could turn the car around. When he opened the door I really did not want to give up my warm cocoon of soft fur, in which I had become quite comfortable, for who knows what lay outside in the winter night. I heaved a sigh and decided that I had come this far with grandfather so I should find out what was so important that he had taken me from the warmth of my bed and brought me here.
“We must hurry, She will be here soon.”
We climbed the rather treacherous way up the leeward side of Bear Butte in South Dakota. In the summer, with no ice, it is a difficult climb. But now it seemed impossible. He stopped, motioning me to his side. He said nothing just reached out and took my hand. “She will not wait for us and she could be completely gone if we don't hurry.”
His gloved hand tightly clasped tightly over my woolen mitten seemed to put new life into my legs and did something to my feet, I didn't slip once more on the way to the top. “She will be here soon.” Today I wonder just how he could have known to take me to one of the most spectacular things I'd ever see, on that particular cold winter night. I don't ask why or how anymore as the answer doesn't matter as much as I WAS THERE!
We did not wait long, there came a sound like none I ever heard before. It was the sound of pure energy arcs moving from place to place. (Of course I did not understand that at the time.)
Suddenly the whole horizon lit in shades of color, long defined by the laws of physics and the quick minds of man.
Then a buzzing, the loudest I ever heard occurred with the appearance of two giant strands of peacock blue that twisted around each other like strands of rope. A few seconds later wavy ribbons of violet and pink unfurled noisily in the night sky.
Something all over my body tingled and made strands of fur from my collar bush out as if the animal beneath had suddenly regained its life force.
I was exhilarated beyond expression. Also there was the uneasy fear of something never before experienced.
The old man looked to the heavens, “thank you for one last time, Aurora.” I looked up at his face, a tear meandered its way down his cheek and froze into a crystal gem in his very sparse beard.
Minutes later the sun began signaling its arrival by a hemisphere of light.
We did not talk on the return trip. In fact I was fast asleep in the warmth of the fur blanket. When we arrived home I did not know it, but the old man would pass away that very night. He certainly gave me such a wonderful gift that has remained so brilliant in my memory ever since.