Last night, the full moon slid over the horizon, painted pink and mauve by the setting sun at the other end of our world. Swiftly, the moon thrust itself into the sky, impatient to shed light across the high plains. As the sun slid out of sight to the west, briefly limning the Sandias with orange and gold, the moon lit our world well enough to see without outside lights. Not many stars can stand against the brilliance but itâ€™s worth missing a few constellations to bask in the silvery light.
We moved from California to New Mexico in the full moon. This was a bonus since a drive which should have taken thirteen hours actually took twenty four and we needed every advantage we could find. Three vehicles containing most of our lives friend crept up the long private road and into the driveway at the top of the hill. We didnâ€™t need headlights to see the large fenced yard, waiting for our Salukis to get out and stretch their legs. We split the dogs among the three of us: my husband, myself, and our dearest friend, who had put her own life on hold to help us move, and walked them around the yard.
Most of our dogs had seen wide open fields in California but never had they lived where nothing blocked their vision for miles. It wasnâ€™t as bright as midday in spite of what might happen on the night before Christmas but it was bright enough to see the closest neighborâ€™s house plus a few lights out in the distance for those who felt the need for a night light. Not many do in this part of the world.
Since that time, full moon nights mean just a bit more to us. Weâ€™ve been here a year and have put our personal stamp on the property. Even so, we wonder if weâ€™re going to wake abruptly from a dream. Full moons remind us of the drive, of first stepping into this house as owners, walking through echoing rooms to peer out windows at the quiet night landscape.
When I have to travel away from here, I make a point to go outside at night, to see the stars and the moon from a different part of the earth. If indeed I can see anything but ambient light or cloud cover. Once while in New Zealand I looked up to total disorientation. The stars are in the wrong place in the sky when youâ€™re at the other end of the world.
If youâ€™ve never experienced a full moon out in the desert you need to do so at least once. The most pragmatic among us would be ready to believe in pretty much anything under this light.