The moon lay on her back in the sky, her thin ivory rim tipped up. Cupped gently in her hollow was the indigo sky, dotted with stars. Two straight lines stitched past the horns of the moon. They were contrails, side-lit by the bright, reflected light. Next to the contrails is the constellation Orion. I always look for it when I walk at night. Often I can just see the belt. Tonight I could see the entire constellation: the powerful Hunter standing next to the river Eridanus with his two hunting dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor, fighting Taurus, the bull. In the early Spring, the constellation is overhead when I walk at night, at an angle I have to search for.
This morning, I watched the moon get tangled in a palm tree, and later in a new-leafed tree. I like walking late at night and early in the morning. The sidewalks are deserted. In the distance, I can hear a train whistle calling as it crosses the street grade and races into the blank and mountainous desert. Who is on the train? Where are they going at night, where will they wake up?
In the next block the first faint trace of orange blossom appeared and vanished over a block wall. In the dark, I could just see the first blossoms on an orange tree. I know the smell from perfumes, but no perfume has such a rich, deep green smell that carries the hope of summer’s glowing ember oranges. I touched one of the polished, shiny leaves, black in the pre-dawn.
The houses have their curtains drawn. I could hear faint sounds from the TVs. Someone was watching explosions and laughing. In the next house someone was screeching on a reality show. I kept walking through the chilly, shining air. This was my gift alone. In two months it will be warm this time of morning.
I have chosen this life–right now it is hard. I work too much. I don’t spend enough time in the studio. My house is not clean and polished, there is laundry to do. But walking through the night with all five senses is a feast I find indescribably peaceful. I feel alive and aware. I am in one moment at a time. It is an enormous gift to see all this, to taste it, touch it, to hear the sounds of the desert. I am grateful. The people who are in front of the TV will never know this, but they are satisfied, too. They don’t want to be walking outside in the dark. I’m glad for their comfort and glad for my own experience.
And in that second of peace, I know the heart of wabi-sabi.
Images: Orion: space.about.com Moon: http://www.andrill.org