Quarter of eight.
I had been divided against myself on the subject of sobriety, but now I’m back to feeling whole and healthy. I decided that I love language and the pursuit of truth more than getting drunk and being euphoric temporarily. It’s not possible to read and write or to think clearly when I am drunk.
When I stepped outdoors, the first thing I noticed was the gibbous moon in the blue morning sky. It seemed a long distance off, unlike the moonrise during the summer, when you could probably peg it with a hurled rock. And then as I got to Fremont Avenue I observed a different Dodge truck next to Kat’s house. Rather than red, it was navy blue. Wafting from the front door I smelled their breakfast and moved on. I felt pretty cheerful when I entered the store and saw Michelle. The old aches and pains that had got me down I didn’t acknowledge at all. My energies were concentrated in a unit again. So I bought a peanut butter cookie for Aesop and my usual foodstuffs, plus my Snapple tea. One other customer purchased biscuits and gravy and a tall Mountain Dew, all of which she balanced carefully in both hands… On Fremont again, I took a last look at the moon before turning up my street. But in fact, the moon followed me all the way to my driveway.
Quarter after eight.
I made it to church all right this morning and kind of squirmed through the sermon that used Ephesians as its springboard. Usually Pastor doesn’t preach about the devil, but this service was full of spiritual warfare. But if I may psychologize his speech a bit, he seems to feel rather inadequate for his Christianity. He said Christians are looked down upon as being weird— and this is okay with him… His sister played the keyboard in place of Eduardo, who tested positive for Covid last week. His daughter read the lessons at the lectern. Everyone did the best they could to make the service happen. And in a way, it does feel as though our church were persecuted by something evil, something like the devil and all his angels. It feels like hell has broken loose on the world. So many times I’ve tried to finish reading Paradise Lost, so maybe soon I will do that. I have a spare copy of Milton I can give to Pastor as well.
Quarter of ten. As I was finishing up an email to Pastor, I looked up and the big full moon was staring me in the face. And though the moon is only a rock in space with a certain amount of gravitational pull on the earth, it still feels like a living thing or some spiritual presence; even like something a bit dark and wicked. So which is it, the stone I can understand or the spirit I can feel? And is intuition really just a fallacy, or is reality always this dual nature?
Quarter of eight.
A few hours ago I was able to watch the full moon through a gap in the wispy clouds. Since then it started raining again. I often forget that the moon is always there whether it’s visible or not. Some cultures associate the moon with reason because it reflects the sunlight, but to me it symbolizes imagination and madness, hence the word “lunacy.” It should be a fairly easy jaunt over to the store this morning, though some days I don’t feel very motivated. And it’s very odd to realize how long my parents have been gone. In December it will be twenty years for my mother, yet here I still am. I believe the last word of Moby Dick is “orphan.” Perhaps many of us feel that way, orphaned by the universe that doesn’t care. The rain comes and goes with variable force, and soon I have to go out in it. Gray days really bring out the green of the flora. Life thrives on the rain and sun. We could use even more rainfall this year in Oregon…
Nine o’clock. The rain was light. I didn’t take my umbrella, and just wore a black raincoat with the hood up. I waited as a huge school bus crossed my path on Fremont. When I got to the market, the customer ahead of me had her card declined twice and finally succeeded on the third try. Other than that I didn’t notice much. The big Tuesday shipment of food was sitting by the freezer, waiting to be unpacked. Probably Cathy and Suk will take care of that later this morning. I saw a little snail on the sidewalk and thought of picking it up just for fun. But people would’ve believed I was crazy or stupid, so I left the snail to struggle on the concrete.
Ten forty. There’s something missing in my experience today, and I kind of think it’s religion, the church. But the reality of Christ was my doing, my participation in worship. It seems like so long ago. Jesus said the kingdom of God is within you, or among you. My faith has dwindled down to nothing, but I can remember vaguely how I used to believe it. And it was because I wanted to believe it… I guess that desire is gone now. Is it a sign of a deficiency to be faithless?
Eleven thirty five. Nothing is the same anymore, and the silence in this room is loud. I feel lonely and depressed. It’s a natural thing when you’re alone… I have the freedom to go down the hallway and play my new bass for a while, but I’d rather play it with other people. The sunshine is intense and completely unexpected. The paralysis I feel makes me tired.
Quarter of one. I was just playing my G&L bass and it sounded really awesome. I hope to use it for practice Saturday evening. And then Heidi called to reschedule for tomorrow morning. Ten o’clock. Now my afternoon is open. Why is it tempting to drown the present in old memories with the aid of alcohol or other substances? Last Wednesday, when my bass arrived, I went and bought a large Pepsi, thinking to revive my parents and old friends from the mid-90’s. Of course it didn’t work; they were still dead and gone. Even my mental state stayed the same.
But then yesterday I checked my voicemail on my other phone and found two messages from old musical friends. Probably the same wish for the past drove me to search my mailbox, yet how bizarre to find something. Also the moon was full as it rose in the evening, and a Romantic sentiment gripped me, as if the moon had arranged these coincidences in such a poetic fashion. Perhaps it’s all in what you want to believe…
Quarter after seven.
I have to make two excursions today. Bi Mart doesn’t open until nine o’clock, so I’ll go to the market first. The sky is a white mercurial sheet, something like hot lead. We got through the 97 degree heat yesterday okay. The bedroom stayed quite cool, permitting us to sleep normally. I observed the moon last night: a half moon like a half eaten pie. The poor air quality rendered the color hazy brown. Ugly, like a bottom feeding fish. The moon has looked a lot better. I remember nights when you could see the halo around the full moon. Also called… a corona. And yet, corona simply means “crown.” Another time, last year, the moon was so huge and low in the sky that it seemed on a collision course with the Earth. It was similar to a sci-fi painting: otherworldly and uncanny. The stuff of prophecies. So, having seen the moon from outdoors and through my bedroom window, I was lulled to sleep by its magnetism. Perchance to dream about weird cults and people I’ve known… And now it’s time to go to the store.