I caught a glimpse of the moon last night. It was a sickle moon but it curved in the direction that’s never chosen for a child’s drawing of the moon. It was reflected backward, yawning open to the left instead of right. That moon, looking awkward and out of place like that capital letter D that my first grade teacher drew intentionally backward on the chalkboard to illustrate to straggling learners that there’s a right way and a wrong way to draw a D. The backward D made my skin crawl, and I held my hands between my knobby knees to keep them from stretching out to erase the offending D. I wanted last night to reach up to smudge out the backward moon.
It’s been awhile since I looked at the moon.
I wouldn’t have looked for the moon last night unless I had just finished reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. It happens to me often with a powerfully written book that the characters and messages linger on my skin after I’ve turned the final page like a house wears the perfume of a fish dinner cooked hours before. Among many images in 1Q84 is a unifying thread of people noticing the moon for the first time in a long time, a metaphor for awakening to the world around them.
Do I stop to listen to the world around me often enough? Do I go blindly, deafly, mutely forward and assume I know exactly how it’s all supposed to turn out–and exactly which way moons and letter Ds are supposed to face?
When I stop–thinking, assuming, overlooking, rushing–will I hear more?
Will I hear Little One laughing as I rub noses with her at bedtime?
Will I hear Little Friend singing “God Bless Amiracle” while sequestered in her room at quiet time?
Will I hear the longing to be with Mama that’s behind Little One’s wordless babble as she tugs at my knees or in Little Friend’s requests to “talk in voice” with a stuffed animal?
And will these sounds catch my ears fresh enough to turn over, smooth out, and tuck away in a memory box bathed in backward-moonlight?