A rectangle of moonlight appeared on my bed. Streaming through the crack in the curtains, I was surprised to see the amount of light the quarter moon threw off. Like a thick shawl on the cool spring night, it reflected back at me the light of the sun, long passed over the curve of earth’s horizon. I was reading, reclined in some contortion on my bed with my feet half up a wall and my head pointing down when suddenly, it was there.
I’ve always had this fascination with the light of the moon. As a child I would sometimes wake in the night between slivers of dreams and be greeted by a bath of moonlight. Those times filled me with a deep sense of peace. For brief, vivid moments in the middle of the night, everything was all right in the world, often a glaring contrast to my anxiety-riddled childhood.
Often we’re drawn to things that are very specific to us, yet we feel like everyone has a similar experience. I thought everyone had the same magnetic pull to celestial bodies. As I grew I learned how these details of our personalities combine to create the unique beings each of us are. And it wasn’t just the moon I remember being drawn to. It was also the stars.
Staring up at the vast expanse with hardly a farmhouse nearby to obstruct the view I would be swept away as a child, engrossed in a world beyond this one. I heard tidbits from my brothers. The universe was infinite. That means it goes on forever. How does that even work? My little mind would wonder. And wonder I did, absorbing light that had travelled thousands of light-years to be captured by my retinas. Where is the edge? What’s on the other side?
I remember these questions as I stare up into the southern hemisphere, totally lost as to which direction is which. There’s nothing familiar now when I look up at the constellations directly above me. Gone are the days of being in new cities and finding my way back after being lost by looking for the North Star. I’m in unchartered territory.
The other day I was driving back to where I’m staying after a night in the city with friends. Out the backseat window I saw a familiar sight dancing along the horizon. Orion’s belt leapt out at me as I gasped, startled. I wasn’t expecting to see it here right now. A few minutes later the view from the motorway cleared and the Pleiades also made their place known. My favourite constellation.
Nestled in the woods of Albany I haven’t seen all of the stars that reach down toward the horizon. I’m pulling newly learned groups together and making maps in my head. I’m charting my way.
Soon it will be time to leave the gentle structure of Kuwai Purapura. I’m hoping to hike the Tongariro with friends—a volcano in middle of the North Island—and am making connections to volunteer with the Hare Krishna group in Wellington.
Sometimes I feel confused, torn at which direction to go. North or South? East or West? Get a “real job” or temporary seasonal work? I know I’ll find my way. The light of the moon and the stars will lead me.