If my mother, rest her soul, were living today, she would tell you flat-out, as she often told me, that at some point in my infancy, I was moonstruck.
It would explain, she said, a lot about my nature.
I never knew for sure what she meant by it. She often said outlandish things that I’ve spent a lifetime trying to unravel.
Who knows? Maybe one night, gazing up at the full moon, she dropped me on my head?
Whatever. I assure you she did not mean “moonstruck” as high praise. Whenever she said it, she’d wrinkle her nose as with other unpleasantries, paying bills, peeling onions, or clipping my grandmother’s toenails.
Moreover, she never called anybody moonstruck but me. It made me feel, not special, but different. In the South where I grew up, “different” was a polite term for “not belonging,” “strange” or “touched in the head.” I was all three.
But moonstruck? All right, I’ll tell you this. I’ve had a lifelong fascination with the moon. In my earliest memory, I’m lying in my crib on a bitter cold night watching the moon reach through the window to bundle me up in its long arms of light.
Have you ever been warmed by the moon?
As I grew older, when my cousins and I played chase in the dark, running barefoot through a pasture, the moon always seemed to follow me.
Riding home half asleep in the back seat of the car, I’d look out the window and see the moon playing hide ‘n’ seek, winking at me through the trees.
And it wasn’t just the moon. The sun, the stars, the candles at church, the lamp by my bed, the glare of a TV, the dim bulb that gleamed on my grandmother’s porch – light followed me, reached out to me, drew me close everywhere I went.
It felt a bit strange to be so singled out and sought after, but I found I rather liked it. A child who longs for attention will take it any way it’s offered, even from a distant beam of light.
Do you remember the first time you saw the moon’s face? I was 10 years old, sitting on the porch swatting mosquitoes, when I looked up and saw the moon rising over the mountain, big and round and golden as a baby’s head. I’d seen it full before, but somehow I’d never noticed the features of its face.
Suddenly there they were – the eyes, the nose, the bow-shaped mouth. I could swear it was looking right at me as if to ask this question: What are you going to do about it?
“About what?” I said. “What am I going to do about what?”
The moon didn’t answer. It has asked me that question throughout my life. And I’ve never known what to say.
But here’s one thing I’ve learned: I am not alone. Lots of us are moonstruck. We are drawn to light, comforted by its glow, calmed by its grace and crazed, just a little, by its beauty.
Look around you. We’re easy to spot. There’s a gleam in the eye, a spark of mischief, a flash of curiosity, a lingering reflection of sunshine and starlight, moonglow and magic.
My husband is hopelessly moonstruck. My children and grandchildren, too. My brother is totally blind, but his eyes are full of light. Even my mother, in her latter years, got a little moonstruck.
Look in the mirror. You might see that light shining in your eyes. I would bet on it. Light follows us all wherever we go.
Last night, I sat on a deck on the coast of California, watching a full moon work its magic on Monterey Bay and me. It came climbing over a ridge, through a tall stand of pines and stared down deep into my soul.
I wish you could’ve seen it.
Same eyes, same nose, same bow-shaped mouth.
And it still wants to know what we’re going to do about it.
Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077, or on her website: sharonrandall.com.