Waning crescent moon
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Ghosts beneath a crescent moon at dawn

Waning crescent moon
Waning crescent moon (Photo by Sean Russell, 2005)

The sky stole my breath as I turned the dark corner. A thin slice of moon hung motionless in the star-speckled firstlight, a waning crescent suspended above a horizon pregnant with day. The trees lining the parkway, the undergrowth swallowed in darkness along the unlit stretch of quiet street, dissolved from view. I paused. The moon had my soul.

By the time I stepped through the gate into the schoolyard, the dimming slash of moon had climbed toward a thin line of reddening cloud. Morning hinted at the edges of sky. I sat at the edge of the running track with the wide sky framed in the upward reach of twin goal posts topped with ribbons fluttering lazily southward.

Schoolyard ghosts

I listened hard for the sweaty shouts of teammates running ghostlike on the lined fields of memory. We ran hard, breathless. The afternoon sky hung its autumnal azure overhead, heedless of our earnest game, as much as we remained heedless of the sky’s magical tones above. The lined field beneath our feet marked the progression of our will; the goal posts beckoned our fiercest desires.

The ghosts that once moved along this silent field have returned now to aging lives. A few return to cold graves. Their heated desires no longer aim for the twin posts now framing a dawning sky. The sidelines painted on the thick grass carpet no longer mark the limits of our youthful competitions. Nor can this schoolyard enclose the celestial expanse above.

A New Day

The fleeting pleasures of long-past games retreat from view; the players’ faces blur in the sudden glare of bold sunlight breaking hard on the horizon. Echoes of their gameful cries disperse to memory. My gaze fixes now on an orange line of thin clouds lingering across the pale sky of coming day. Barely visible, the moon’s delicate arc of faint light rises on its path toward heavens beyond the reach of desire, memory, and age. ♨

 

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