Arts & Culture

Drinking the Moon

by Jessilyn Rich

I stood on the edge of the water, soaking up the feelings of a perfect July night. It was the moment you dream about in the cold winds of February when snow loses it’s magic for a moment and your dreams take you to the deep breath that July can bring. It’s that night you always see at the end of a bad summer romance movie, crickets singing beneath the grass that’s softly blowing in the warm summer wind. 

The moon glowing on the water hiding the world in the shadows of the trees. It’s a night that comes so rarely it feels like trying to catch smoke with your finger tips. It didn’t happen often and I planned to savor every moment, like the last Christmas candy. I listened for the trees, and world, but nothing caught my ear except a couple of trash pandas arguing in a tree over a prized snack. 

I tried to trace the sound with my eyes until I spotted them huddled deep in a great oak, just barely visible in the dark. They had frozen when they heard me nearby, apparently they hadn’t heard me arrive or were off scrounging for the snack that seemed to be in great debate at the moment. Little did they know that they were in for a show, because I had come here to drink the moon.

    I climbed up on the boulders beside the water, they felt rough and even warmer than the night air. Standing atop, I looked down at the water so much further below my feet and felt my heart begin to race. The water looked like gold, as the moon nudged the rock, carried by tiny ripples. My fingertips tingled as if electricity floated between them and I forced myself to wait just a moment. The anticipation bubbled inside me.

I heard my furry friends in the tree shift and I glanced over my shoulder to see them huddled tightly in the elbow of the tree. They looked as if they had shifted to get a better look at what on earth I was doing here, on top of this rock in the middle of the night. I bit my lip trying to suppress a smile, not that they would have cared anyway, but it felt wrong to boast about what I knew and they didn’t, even in front of a couple raccoons whose only interest in me was probably trying to see if I was going to try and harm them. 

I turned my attention back to the large pool of gold and eyed my spot. The spot I knew was waiting for me. I pulled at the button on my shorts and my clothes seemed to slip off so much easier than they went on. They were dropped at my feet in an unorganized pile, and looked like a pile of chains laying there now. The night air felt even warmer as it hugged my curves so often hidden from the night. My toes gripped the rock like a hawk on a limb, eyeing its prey. A couple of quick bounces on the balls of my feet and I launched into a dive, aimed for my spot. The air felt like silk and a short decent feels as if it’s taking forever. As if gravity had given up on the creatures of earth and I would never collide with the moon.

    At last my fingertips hit the silky surface of the moon, as I became engulfed in gold. I let my body push me deep beneath the water before I dare move. Turning over beneath the surface and looking up at the gold above my head, I watch the bubbles from my lungs float upwards. The warmth of the water wraps me tight, and I refuse to push for the surface until my lungs feel set on fire, as they beg me for air. I burst through the surface gasping for air and laughing. I felt instantly intoxicated as I splashed about in the moonlight. 

I let my body float just below the surface as little crystals floated around the moon overhead. No amount of intelligent conversation or scientific fact could convince me that these little flecks of glitter in the sky were something other than magic. The world had fallen into summer night silence. No rushing cars or beeping horns, no ringing phones or screeching timers, no voices talking about nothing and everything all at the same time. The world had become nothing but light breezes, chirping crickets, and the smooth silky sounds of the water.

    I searched the shore line for my tiny spectators, curious if they had given up on the show, or were still watching me. I couldn’t find them or their tree for a moment, and wondered if they had gone. They had moved from the safety of the oak to the edge of the shore. Clearly deciding I wasn’t a threat and just might have something to eat. A pang of guilt bounced around my insides wishing I brought them something. They seemed so overtaken by curiosity that the risk of danger seemed to escape them. This was my night, my moment with the moon, but I didn’t mind sharing with two curious creatures. Tonight was the night I came to drink the moon.

Categories: Arts & Culture

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