Waiting for a Compassionate Moon

I had something to say last night. Slept poorly and woke to the blackbirds singing about the fresh snow (I assume that was the topic of conversation).

Now, what do I say in the face of that? Another day slipped by. Along with all the thoughts I didn’t take note of. The hours that I could have filled with – what? – I don’t know: evidence of my being/having been.

At the turn of the year, I counted the full moons in a lifetime, and despite the panic that came with realizing that – even under the most fortunate of circumstances – more moons have passed through my life than will come in the remainder of my time. And still, I have managed not to pay attention.

B. can likely count moons on her fingers and toes. We haven’t discussed it. The word “terminal” comes up as a descriptor, the phrase “I would have been dead by now”. I nearly wrote “I’m dying here”, which is not my usual phrase for being frustrated. The subconscious can reassemble bits of literal and figurative language lying around the neural network in the most awkward and unfortunate ways. There is more than one reason to slow down.

This morning there is a waxing crescent moon over the snow. Filling slowly for April’s pink moon, peony moon. I keep waiting for symbolism. For a meaningful connection between the universe and the tiny phenomenon of my life.

I think I have a title for the wasp project. And am still amazed how the facts and the memories link in unexpected ways. How a constrained poem kicks up the word vortex, which relates directly to the wasp’s ability to fly. And I thrill at the order of it all. As though I’ve uncovered hidden connections. Meaning.

Last week we went for drinks with friends for the first time since the shutdown of two years ago. Catching up, and discussing lottery dreams, and inheritance dreams. I mentioned my dead mother’s estate, and how I am pulping printouts of her hand-written will to make wasps’ nests. J. asked me if I thought it would bring me closure. “You’ve talked about her a lot”. I felt a wave of shame. I had no idea that I have “talked about her a lot”. All these internal hidden connections. I am beginning to think that if I don’t make the connections, it all leaks out in meaningless chatter. There is nothing beautiful about that.

I am wondering when a steady drip of sadness becomes depression. Is there a mathematical formula dependent on how many missed showers? How many empty hours? How many appeals to magic?


In one myth, Paeon, a student of the god of medicine, used a peony root to heal Pluto. The god of medicine became jealous and tried to kill him. To save Paeon, Pluto transformed him into a peony because he knew it was a flower that people would admire and praise. Therefore the peony began to signify compassion.

Pluto was the god of the underworld. The god of the afterlife. But now all I can think of is that Pluto, declared a planet in 1930, is no longer a planet.

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  1. Ah, missed showers. I don’t have an absolute number on how many count as depression, but I always think that even if I miss one I’m on the verge of depression again. And think of old smelly men and how depressed they must be, and how long it will be before I become a smelly old man. And then tell myself to stop and just live. But it’s not that simple. I think we need to stop thinking of time doing nothing as time wasted. But that’s not so simple either.

  2. Oh this is me after my stroke. The days, that are not so many, left. The not writing. The thoughts of those who have died. Thoughts of my own death without leaving crumbs or petals or even footprints

    • Sending you the very best hopes and admiration. You will be leaving more than you know when the time finally comes, as it will for all of us. May it be a long time until then.

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