There was a pink moon last night, the fullest and closest and brightest moon of the year. It was overcast, but not so much that you couldn’t see the light from the moon shining through, lighting the clouds from behind. The clouds were white in the night’s sky, and when they broke and the sky showed, the sky was almost blue. The illusion made the clouds appear lower, but also accentuated the curve of the atmosphere, so it wasn’t endless sky, but a universe just beyond the round edges of our own. The clouds belong to us, but everything else is beyond.
It had rained all evening, so the air was humid but still cool. The air smelled like spring, damp and rich and fragrant. The high-rise office building visible in the near distance was lit up with rainbow lights. My daily dress challenge was to wear rainbows. Everything was too bright; I wanted darkness to appreciate the moon and the sky, to maybe be able to capture its unique illusions with the camera on my phone. But no, I had to just try and commit to memory, to language what I had seen.
I tried to just focus on the sky, what I was seeing, how it was changing as the clouds sailed by, where it was brightest, where the color shifted from black to not-black from the light, the stars bright enough to peek through the thinning clouds. I wanted to empty my mind of the day, to just remember the sky last night, to stop my mind from running. It was peaceful outside, but still too bright from the world around me. I wanted to be able to turn everything else off, save for the sky.
It was my husband’s birthday. We had fancy beef burgers with poutine and a really nice bottle of red wine for dinner and then played Settlers of Catan, a new family favorite. I won, again, second time in a row. I have never really won at board games or card games, a combination of persistent bad luck, poor strategy, and an inability to retain past moves or intuit other people’s strategies. But for whatever reason, I have devised an effective strategy for this game and the rolls have gone my way. No one fights, no one cries, and we even laugh. We are learning to live together again.
Sometimes it’s the small wins that help get you through. Eating poutine with real cheese curds and St. Hubert sauce. Winning at Catan and everyone still leaving the table happy. Singing Happy Birthday together. A sky that is transcendent and awe-inspiring. It keeps you going, even when it also all feels simultaneously insignificant. When you feel insignificant. Insufficient. You run through everything you have to be grateful for, that in the game of life, your strategy and luck (so much luck) have got you to the place you are right now. And it feels no more significant than winning at Catan.
But then you see the pink moon and the sky and smell spring and remember, for a moment, that under the right conditions the sky will look blue even at night and that you have to be ready at that moment to look up and see it, appreciate it, to be able to stop and notice, and then record that moment. Be ready. To watch, to see, to record, to react. Be ready for those moments.