A Half Moon’s Arc

Diana’s half turned countenance is hovering in the western sky as I drive along the winding roads of Point Reyes to Limantour Beach. Kiana, the dog, rides shot gun beside me, shifting with the curves in the road. A two pointed buck dashes out from the dark shroud beyond the circle of light, turns to run in front of my car, his rear haunches pumping hard in the headlights. The hooves clatter on the tarmac. Like the hounds of death I am riding his rear before he veers off into the woods just as the car comes to a halt. This time he has narrowly escaped a certain death.

Only the sandy path across the marsh is illuminated. The shrub and brush suck in the weak light. There is no bustle or whistle that would surround a daylight ramble. Only the small sounds of snapping twigs and rustling leaves tell me of small creatures awake out there. In the dark beyond, tule elk and deer stand alert with the smell of dog filling their nostrils watching our shadows as we pass.

It is said that the moon is moving away from the earth an inch and a half a year. Yet the virgin goddess comes to greet me by the light she casts across the water from her place above the horizon. The undertow draws in a deep trough then slams it back against the shore. To accommodate the waves, as if she has taken a lover, the moonlight creases, breaking and reforming at my feet. I am witness to her nakedness, but she does not curse me and turn me into the stag. A pin point of light on the horizon drops off the edge. The world seems flat.

I settle down in cool sand, lay back to look at the stars. Most of them are obscured by thin smoke and haze from a blaze burning seventy miles away. Amongst the visible stars Orion with his drawn bow and faithful dog. The slow arc of a satellite crosses the sky. I see myself as an infrared dot on a grey granular surface. The audacity to think big brother is watching me suggests we are not alone. It comes to mind: the vastness of space, the smallness of me and my kind. In the eternity of things, who cares?

Kiana digs a hole right beside me. It is big enough to bury me.

Brenda Gunn