With all of these arguments — and the end of the school year, when students’behavior gets uglier and uglier with each passing day — I haven’t been writing about beauty. I haven’t been writing enough period, and it’s starting to tell on me; fortunately, the school year ends in five days. I feel like I haven’t been seeing anything beautiful for weeks, now: I feel like I’ve been sinking down to the bottom of the ocean, everything getting darker and heavier and colder. I hit bottom (Somewhere around where my students in my Lit class told me they’d rather do nothing than read for the sake of reading, and that their grades were all that mattered to them), and now I’m coming up, and now, right now, I can see the light playing on the surface of the water. I couldn’t do that a few days ago, a few heartbeats ago. Now I can. Now I can see something beautiful.
Last week I got up early enough (My desperate times always bring insomnia with them, which for me is waking up early and immediately starting to think about things other than sleeping) to see something extraordinary, something I have never seen before: the sun was rising, the night just breaking up, the sky still dark, and the full moon was in the sky. It was brighter than I have ever seen a moon before, a shining liquid golden color. But the extraordinary thing was that it was actually behind clouds when I first looked out at the sky, while my dog nosed about the ground in the backyard, and as I watched, the clouds parted and the moon slowly grew in the sky, from a sliver to a slice to a disk, over the course of a time that was just long enough to fall in love. Solid gold emerging in a dark grey-black sky. It was amazing, like the moon was creating itself, appearing from nothing, and made of pure solidified sunlight, even in the pre-dawn darkness, the moon as dream-catcher, flying high above and taking in the sun’s rays as they flew above the Earth, above me. The moon brought them to me as a gift, a gift that (early mornings only having the one advantage, the feeling of absolute solitude, the only existence awake in the world) was only for me. I had never seen the moon that way.
It was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in quite a while, and coming as it did in the middle of a time without beauty, it was wondrous. The universe, it turns out, can still surprise you.
But then this past Friday, my wife and I went to the graduation at the high school where we both teach. And my wife dressed up for the occasion.
I tried to take a video on my phone of the moon; but it didn’t look like anything but a glowing glob hanging in the sky. Beautiless. Only the moon itself could catch that light, and, luckily, my eyes, as well.
I didn’t even try to take a picture of my wife, because no camera could have caught that light. And there’s nothing I can say to describe how she looked, except to say: she outshone the moon. Golden, extraordinary, appearing out of darkness, made of solid light.
She’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, and she is a gift just for me, even in a building filled with graduates and families and well-wishers; because she catches all the rays of my love and admiration, and she collects them into herself, and then shines them down on me. Only me. Even in the darkness, she is glowing gold by my side. My love. My light.