This morning well after first light, the perfect half moon in its perfect whiteness hangs high in the remaining deep, deep blue of the high sky. Pink has captured the eastern horizon. Quiet reigns in the cool of morning with only the doves’ coos interrupting the silence.
Jupiter remains visible to the moon’s east. Mars is a tad further and fading in the light of the expanding day. Venus — ah, i wish we had retained the earlier Greek name of Aphrodite for the goddess of beauty and love — continues eternally to be a flirt. Just over a week ago, she rode on the back of Aries, the ram, while this morning, she dares to taunt Cetus, the sea monster.
i stand in the quiet coolness, newspaper in my hand, wondering why i am so fixated on the planets, stars, and constellations. Oldness is the first thing that comes to mind. The years of navigating have imbedded this need to know and understand the worlds of faraway that guided me on the night watches.
i wonder how i cannot remember where i left the pencil only to find it held by my teeth while remembering moments, short finite moments, over the span of near four score years:
Standing on the front lawn in only shorts, so glad Mother has allowed it was sufficiently hot for us to head to Hazelwood’s pool, and later in my pre-teens at Hazelwood again on a blanket by the pool to hear Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk” for the first time, becoming entranced. Then a few years later, out at Horn Springs, the higher end pool for girls, hence where the boys went, at least those whose parents did not have the coins to join the country club, and hearing Bobby Darin, who someone at the county fair said i looked like, singing “Splish Splash” and decided i liked it before i began to denigrate “bubble gum” rock because it couldn’t hold a candle to the soulful blues of Jimmy Reed, Lonesome Sundown, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, and many others. Feel it, man. Feel it.
Henry (Harding) and i hunting rabbits with a 12-gauge and 410 on Grandpa Arnold’s farm in the winter and me deciding to test the ice in the large tin watering tub for the cows with my right leg plunging through the thinness and sitting there for about an hour or so when George or Virginia came to pick us up as scheduled (and somewhere around 20,000 other misadventures with Henry and Beetle and Mike Dixon and Jimmy Gamble and Mike Gannaway and George Thomas and and Charles “Fox” Dedman and Alex “Country” Harlan and Pat Climer and Jimmy Hatcher and Earl Major, which i shall not mention here).
College Station, Texas in a small house i bought with bad reasoning on the cusp of an unwanted divorce where i would shed my hated polyester khaki uniform, shift into my running shorts and Adidas running shoes, which i bought at JC Penney for twenty bucks and never wore socks, managing to wear for five years, adding shoe goo to the disappearing soles until some crazy person stole them while i was taking a shower in Diego Garcia’s gym locker room. Running a five-mile route to return and put the coals in the small hibachi charcoal grill, closing it to create the flu and expedite the charcoal reaching maximum burning while i showered and returned to put on the one lone steak while i made the salad and toast to eat with a beer damn near every weeknight unless i went to Frank’s, a modern restaurant that played jazz of all things in western swing and outlaw music heaven, and sit at the bar with a sandwich and chips made on site while i talked to the bartender as we listened to jazz, even some Jimmy Smith stuff i brought with me and closing the evening with a Jack Daniels on the rocks before going home and sleeping in the bed alone except for my Old English Sheepdog “Snooks” and the three-legged cat “Shore Patrol” on top of me. And it wasn’t all that bad.
i breathe in the creeping daylight, return to the house to layout the fixin’s for my bride who will make another gourmet breakfast as we watch the hummingbirds feed on the Mexican sage outside our breakfast niche window, and as i pour my first cup of coffee well before she arises, think “maybe this is what one is supposed to do when they get old: remember moments.”