Thursday, August 30, 2012
The sequence began last night not long before dark.
We were walking Blue when Lyn pointed up at the mountain to the east and said WHAT'S THAT!
Between some trees there was an enormous spotlight.
Seconds later we realized it wasn't a UFO but the moon rising quickly from behind the mountain. It soon floated there in all its gibbous (swollen, humped) glory.
It will be a blue moon tomorrow, when it's full, Lyn said to our own Blue Moon -- Once in a Blue Moon -- more interested in the scent trails left by other animals who had passed our way than in an arbitrary calendar.
I didn't sleep much during the night, listening to the silence that is one of our little mountainside town's best features. Crickets insistent in the silence. A distant dog barking for a minute. A little breeze in the oak brush.
And then about 5 a.m. a car driving up the hill, pulling into our neighbors' driveway, the sound of a newspaper hitting the driveway, the car backing out and then accellerating on up the hill.
The big moon was now on the western horizon. To the east, a burning Jupiter had risen and just south of it Orion's belt stood vertical and bright. Dark skies are another fine feature of our little town.
I remembered the morning, about the same time -- between 4 and 5 a.m. -- maybe 1966, in Farmington, New Mexico, when I was driving a car full of newspapers down dark roads and the black sky lit up with a fuselage of meteors, hundreds of them over an hour's time, thrilling extra-terrestrial manifestations for a boy out doing a job.
The job was courtesy of my father, a junior-high-school teacher who for a second income had taken on the distributorship of the Albuquerque Journal in our town. Two mornings a week I drove at 4 a.m. to a warehouse where a truck dropped off bundles of papers and loaded them into our family car. I drove through town, stopping at every cafe and restaurant, at hotels and motels, taking unsold papers and emptying coins out of locked tubes and filling the racks with new papers, driving through empty streets to houses where paperboys still slept, counting out bundles of papers to match their routes, slipping, finally, at about 6 a.m. back into bed for a half hour before being woken for breakfast and 7 a.m. seminary at the church, after which it was time for school.
Max Weber would understand this semi-Protestant work ethic perfectly.
One morning I woke up just after 6, horrified that I had overslept, raced to the car, drove to the warehouse, found no papers, drove to the first cafe and found the rack already full of the day's paper. Same with the next rack and the next. I drove to a paperboy's house and found his bundle of papers on the sidewalk. I had already delivered all the papers—in a half-sleep.