There is a streetlamp outside my bedroom window that gets me every time. I know it’s there. I know it’s but a man-made globe perched atop a metallic cylinder. Yet, every time I do a double take, ready to gaze in awe at a glowing full moon.
Tonight our true satellite is in that phase somewhat like a toenail clipping, and it glows a pale orange in our frozen Vermont sky.
Whether it be the moon or a mere streetlamp, I am always drawn to glowing orbs in the sky.
One of the towns I have spent some good amount of time in is Texas’ own outlaw child Austin. Austin is the only town in the world known to still use a system of “moon towers”. Moon towers were a popular alternative to streetlamps in the late 1800s, and are much like they sound, a bright globe atop a tower, much higher than the average streetlamp. They were favored because they spread light over more distance from their high perch.
Last I checked, 17 of the original 31 towers still grace the Lone Star state’s evening sky, although it’s been a few years since I passed through. I do recall the wonder that its residents still breathe when talking about these glimmering landmarks. The moon towers are just a breathtaking as the moon. Just like my streetlamp.
The light, any light, glowing in the sky is enough to stop me in my tracks. Human-made or heaven-sent. Light is one of the most wonderful gifts that we seldom fully appreciate. It gives meaning to sight, allows every other object in our path to be revealed, but it is also a gift entirely by itself.
Today in the fields, we were harvesting leeks, and a friend said that as a child, before she went to sleep, she used to visualize the inside of a flame, because she had read about it in a Roald Dahl book. It’s a beautiful idea, but perhaps one to extend to all things. So much of what we choose to observe in this life is refracted, reflected or dispersed. We seldom take the time to truly see the inside.
My friend said that visualizing the inside of the flame allowed her to escape the terror of nightmares. Perhaps there’s more to it than only this. What if we tried to see the insides of all things, not through dissection, rather through careful and continued attention. Maybe we could remove the terror from more than just our dreams. Our attention is also a great gift, and we are always giving it to something. Why not shoot for the moon?