The day began two hours earlier than usual.  I woke in the ebony silence.   I closed my eyes and realized that silence had awakened me; a new and unexpected absence of sound.   The rain had stopped.

I spent an hour or so stumbling through the darkness.  I got my computer ready for the webinar at 8 and the medical appointment at 11.  Coffee dripped through the metal funnel while I cautiously stretched my failing spine.  A fragile aroma of warmed butter  wafted from the skillet.  I coaxed fluffy curds of egg onto a crisp slice of toasted sourdough and sank into my small chair.

A few hours later, I shook the dullness of the lecturer’s voice and the agitation of the tardy doctor from my mind.  Grabbing pocketbook, coat, and a sweet tangerine, I hurried outside.  Behind the wheel of my cluttered car, I skirted the levee roads toward town.  There I settled into another chair, a pseudo-leather one, with an oddly tilted back and peeling armrests.  Crammed between a monstrous fake wood desk and a bank of lateral files, I hammered at computer keys as steadily as possible for five grim hours.  Enmeshed in mangling software to produce the necessary client-specific sheaf of documents, I broke my drafting stride only a handful of times, once to eat that orange, and twice to listen to a client whose panicked tone sent daggers of tension down the numbed nerves of my compressed vertebrae.  I steeled myself to remain pleasant, even reassuring.  Don’t complain, I scolded, silently, sternly.

By five o’clock this afternoon, collapse from exhaustion loomed.  I dragged my weary bones to my car and started east.    My hands turned the wheel nearly without benefit of conscious direction. My brain barely registered the drone of a news commentator’s voice on the radio.  I scarcely noticed the river’s rippling surface as I descended  the Rio Vista Bridge and crossed into Sacramento County, a few miles from home and welcome rest.

As I rounded the western edge of the Delta Loop, a golden glow lifted itself into the sky.  I braked.  I stared across Andrus Island.  My foot hovered over the accelerator for a long minute.  When I started forward again, I kept my eyes fixed on the astonishing sight.  Without noticing, I slowly cruised beyond the entrance to my park.  I let my engine idle as I veered into a parking space outside an old abandoned restaurant. 

A pall of regret loomed.  Not a year ago, my trusty Canon would have sat beside me, always at the ready.  Somehow my sense of adventure surrendered to my conviction that I could not produce a credible image.  I let the batteries die.  I stashed the lot in one of the stairwell cubbies.  Now I could only raise the one lens at hand, a basic Samsung smart phone.  I held it as steady as I could.  I strained to memorialize the breathtaking beauty which presented itself for my astonished, bleary eyes.  I did what I could.  As with every other minute of this daunting day, my best and clumsy effort had to suffice.

It’s the twenty-fifth day of the one-hundred and twenty-first month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

One thought on “Moonstruck

  1. Jane

    I didn’t think you were listening to voices telling you you aren’t good enough anymore, even your own voice. Get the battery charged and put the camera back in your car. I know I don’t have a keen eye for this, but I love seeing your photos and I can’t imagine i am alone in that.


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