july july

when i was a kid in africa i used to look up at the moon every single night. i had a mantra, which was just an old song my mom used to sing me. i had a lot of mantras in africa, though i didn’t call them mantras back then. this one was: “i see the moon/ the moon sees me/ under the shade of the wide [wild?] oak tree/ please mr. moon that shines on me/ shine on the one i love”

it’s a pretty sentimental song really, but back there, when i was so completely alone and the moon looked absolutely creepy, all tilted sideways, i really found a lot of comfort in that song. it became sort of an obsession and i took it quite literally. every night i would stare up at the moon and sing the song in my head and imagine the moon, in the daylight in oregon, looking down at my family and my friends. like my staring at it reflected of its surface and hit them so i was looking at them and they were looking at me.

tonight walking home from celebrating my friend courtney’s birthday, i looked up at the full moon and started singing the song in my head. i stopped even, so i could finish the song while looking at the moon, which was part of my obsessive practice back in africa, the only way to make it really work. it’s strange but it’s still comforting, even if it is sentimental and silly, to feel like when i look up at the moon, my stare is reflected back and lands on all the people i love, who i don’t get to see anymore. the moon is so big and so far away, it eats up all the reasons that we aren’t together, all the stupid little fights and the distance.

i went to africa when i was 16. i’ve been thinking lately, since i am about to be 30 and 15 is half of 30, that my life really changed when i was 15, right around the time i decided to go to africa. the first 15 years of my life were like a perfect floating dream and the last 15 have been a lot more challenging and interesting. in the first 15, for example, i never needed or understood that song, but my mom was right there, singing it anyway. it’s only these last 15 years that i have needed it, and all the other strange mantras i learned, to order the chaotic world outside of the houses i grew up in and the people who made so much sense.

anyway, i’m pretty lucky i grew up in the family i grew up in. tomorrow is fourth of july and there are fireworks going off all around me. the moon is out. go look at it!