Friday, February 18, 2011

Better moons

The future is no place
To place your better days
--Dave Matthews, Cry Freedom
Damned moon anyway. We walk on it and slice golf balls across its craters and it still beckons to us with its desolate siren's song. So close and yet so far, it full moons us periodically and smacks its crater ridden ass, mocking us for pining away for a ball of rock and dust.

The moon is a master trickster, too. I remember when I was 19 years old, driving all night from Boise to Denver with a 25-year old lady friend who would briefly be my girlfriend before ditching me for a irritating unemployed actor from New York. We were going to Denver to pick up a goat she'd left with her ex-husband's in-laws and an antique sewing machine. It's a long story.

Anyway, we were taking turns driving her Toyota pick up. It was a stick shift which at the time I had little experience driving. But most of the driving was on the Interstate so there wasn't a lot of shifting involved. I don't remember what time it was, but my friend was sleeping in the passenger seat and I was staring at the occasional lights of oncoming truckers hauling freight. Suddenly the moon appeared on the horizon bigger than the UFO in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

It was the first time I'd seen the moon in its incredible Hulk mode framed by the horizon versus  its Herb Villachez  (the little guy from Fantasy Island) mode dwarfed by clear sky. I was freaked and awestruck. And no sooner than the moon had exploded in my face, it retreated to it's proper fifty cent piece size in the sky.

In case you are interested, we made it to Denver, loaded up the goat and the sewing machine (which my friend retrieved by climbing through the window of a house in the boonies outside of Denver) and headed back to Boise. The goat rode in the pick up bed and crapped on my sleeping bag. This proved to be prophetic for my future relationship with the girl I'd driven to Denver with.

But I digress.

I sometime feel sorry for Neil Armstrong. Having been the first man to walk on the moon (we think), there had to be this nagging feeling when he returned home that there wasn't much else he could do to top that experience. I feel even more sorry for Buzz Aldrin. It must have really sucked to follow Neil Armstrong around at parties saying, "I walked on the moon, too" and having people pat him on the head and say, "That's nice" and move on to refill their wine glass. But I feel the most sorry for Michael Collins, the astronaut who stayed in the Apollo capsule while Neil and Buzz bounced around on the moon. It must have been like driving to Grand Canyon and never getting out of the car.

Before I got off on tangents about goats, sewing machines and walking on the moon, the reason I was inspired to write this post was seeing the almost full moon in the sky the other night. It always catches me off guard. I'm not sure why it should. I always feel the full moon before I see it. This time I saw it around the same time I was listening to Dave Matthews sing Cry Freedom with the philosophical line, "The future is no place to place your better days."

I look up at the moon after hearing that lyric and realize that there is no better moon than the one that is in the sky now. And it wouldn't be any better if I was standing up their with a golf club slicing balls into the Milky Way like Alan Shepard did (he had to one up Neil Armstrong somehow).

It is such a simple concept, yet one that is so hard for most of us to grasp that we waste an awful lot of the now by living for the future. I imagine even the goat that crapped on my sleeping bag lived in the now. But then again what else does a goat have to look forward to.

Oh well, enough waxing and waning poetic on the moon.

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