I am in the corner of my mother’s yard drinking my tea in the late afternoon. I see a shape perched on the dead yucca stem at the top eastern side of the ridge, the one where the red-tailed hawks’ offspring often sits. I don’t know for sure if it’s him or one of his parents, but he turns in my direction when I look through my binoculars. “Oh, hello, love,” I whisper. When I put down the binoculars, my eyes still scan the ridgeline near him. I spot an odd shape a few “inches” to the north of his spot, maybe seven yards away from his yucca stem. I squint at it as it moves and my mind makes sense of it, the almost-full waxing moon rising in the daylight sky. Its movement is quick, surprising. What began as a smooth white arc that didn’t belong with the ragged edges of the chaparral morphs into the moon’s face, her eyes and mouth visible, only a bit of the left side still unseen. She shares the ridgeline with the red-tailed hawk, both companion and blessing. And both of them are both to me, small, odd human in my chair below, honored to pieces, and made whole.
Early dark, the full moon hangs above the tall buildings in downtown L.A.
Fierce and bright in the cold, clear air after the crowded bus
So familiar and dear and reassuring—a sweet surprise.
Tuesday before the little wooden bridge I glanced back over my shoulder as I walked and saw a big bird flying in my direction from the southwest. I stopped to gawk, and the dark, animated silhouette became an egret. She was flying too high for me to hear the sound of her passing, but I stood and watched the long, silent strokes of her wings until she disappeared. She was still in my head moments later when I rounded a curve and came upon the moon, almost full, peering through the lacy winter branches of the old palo verde beside the path. And so, in the way of things, the two images were linked inside me: the slender, graceful bird, the large, round moon near the horizon, their white shapes both luminous in the late dusk. Words can’t do them justice, I know. But maybe that doesn’t matter. Because the overlapping moments live in me now, their wonder, my awe, clay feet planted on the earth, all of a piece in our fragile, fleeting world. If I might be so blessed, may they live in me all the rest of my days.