Stepped outside a little after four, tea in hand, and was immediately brought up short by the moon, lightly blurred above the tree line, illuminating the snow, making the whole yard and the fields beyond glitter brighter than the stars. For the first half mile or so I walked slowly, stopping often to look up, or simply listen. I had woken just after two, thinking that night and early morning are precious because they place so few impediments before my senses. The morning walk as tonic.
Went South, following the moon, surprised to be held up by snow which I had expected would be soft and yielding. By the time I reached the airstrip, adjacent to the silent main rod, cold had set my legs in motion, and each time I put my lips to the tea mug they froze. Gratitude was the ideal hallmark but I slipped in and out, stunned as usual to be out before the sun rose.
Emily Dickinson very much in mind, having read several hundred of her letters the day before. Reference (in a letter to Higgins, I believe) to her family worshipping “an eclipse they call father,” i.e., God. Why, I wondered, did her family indulge her solitude so? Even to the point of relative apostasy. She was more troubled, frazzled – and more demanding – than I recollect her in poems, though the line between the forms blurs considerably when reading her.
Anyway . . . it is hard so much later to get it right – when the has finally risen, lighting up even the cold basement where I write – especially in words. The dogs lingered outside, coming in much later than I did. Each time I think I cannot bear more light, spiritual or otherwise, more light comes. Is this what she meant by eclipse? The religious idea and practice and ritual of god that obscures – by blocking, by shading – the truer, lighter, the holographic God?
What grace at last to find a preceptor!