I feel sorry for the moon.
I mean, not always. Just tonight.
Tonight is December’s Full Moon, The Cold Moon. But everywhere you look, people are already talking about the next Full Moon, The Blue Moon. The Blue Moon, as you might know, dear Blog, is the second full moon in one month, and we will have one later this month, on the 31st. (There’s another, older and probably more true definition of a Blue Moon, but the second moon in one month is simpler, and common.)
A Blue Moon. Sure, it’s magical, but I mean, Geez, Louise, there’s a regular old full moon right outside your window, right now. There’s something magical about every full moon if you ask me. And we can’t just skip over this Full Moon. I mean, just look at her! Between you and me, I think her feelings are hurt. Which, technically, kind of makes this moon The Blue Moon, but. Anyway, I’ve been searching her face tonight and … Oh. How can I see the moon when I sit here up on blocks in this garage you wonder? Well. I told you this webcam works both ways, didn’t I? You can see me, and I can see you. And the moon. Sometimes. If I really concentrate. Plus, we have windows. Anyway. I’ve been searching her face tonight and it’s clear to me that The Cold Moon is blue. Poor Moon! Already overshadowed by her yet unborn December sister.
You know, tonight’s moon is also sometimes called The Long Night Moon. But for me, they’re all long night moons, because I can never sleep during a full moon. Which is maybe why so many of my adventures coincide with their timing. And speaking of which, in an attempt to cheer up The Cold Moon, and to amuse myself, and you dear Blog, on what is sure to be a long night under this Long Night Moon, I am going to tell you a story. A story about something that happened to me under another December moon, on a night much like this one. Come a little bit closer, hear what I have to say.
So. Are you listening? On a night much like tonight, under a December Full Moon, The Cold Moon, just a year or so ago, I had convinced Pearl and some of our other car friends to go out for a midnight drive with me. I was missing the good old days of carousing, and had grown weary of my work. I mean, I still believed in my mission and everything, but Neil was all the way across the country on tour, in New York City, as he had been for the Cold Moon for the second year in a row, and I was missing him, as I do. He was out having fun, I felt like a fool for staying home and having none, et cetera, blah blah blah. So off we went. What a time we had! But as the evening wore on, and things got crazier and crazier, I suddenly decided, on a whim, that it would be a fantastic idea to go ahead and drive across the country to find Neil. Hmm. And, I decided that I had to get there quickly, so I needed to just stay up North and head East. Hmm x 1,000. I am a convertible. It was December. It was not my finest hour, that decision. Or maybe it was. Listen.
Off I went. Much to the dismay of Pearl, and the others, who tried mightily to dissuade me. I was undeterred. Don’t be denied!, I laughed, as I looked back at them in my rear view mirror, headed East. It didn’t take long before the foolishness of my plan set in. Around Reno, the sun was coming up, and I was exhausted, and running on empty. My reflexes dulled, I came around a corner too fast, hit a patch of ice, and slid off the road into a ravine, deep with snow. I’m white, I thought to myself, beginning to panic, no one will ever find me here! The more I spun my wheels, the deeper into the ravine I sunk. FUCK! My engine, and my mind, raced. Now what. I paused, and began to fade. I drifted into a worried sleep.
When I awoke, everything was dark. Shit. I might as well just turn back, I thought. By the time I get to New York Neil will be heading back home! I tried to see what I could make out in the dark. What was that? A noise. It sounded like the rumble of thunder. I looked up, and a picture drifted into view, like a dark cloud passing overhead:
Ah. So I was dreaming. Now listen. Remember. I had been growing weary of my work, and Neil was on the road. Without me! I missed all my friends, I missed my team, and I missed N., most especially. Beyond all reason, really. So sometimes, when Neil’s not around, I cruise around his official website just trying to, I don’t know, find him, somehow. Anyway, I know I shouldn’t click on the “Neil’s Garage” sign, I know I shouldn’t, it’s the click that takes me to the scary “Shakey’s Used Cars, Autos Bought and Sold” thing, but I had done so the day before, like an idiot. So of course, the first dream I had was that Shakey’s Used Cars sign, and then my picture up there under that Shakey’s Used Cars sign, with a FOR SALE sign emblazoned across my windshield in red paint, in Neil’s handwriting no less! One of Neil’s songs was playing over and over in the background. Then it became my picture on eBay, and on and on. Here come the nightmares again, I thought. Thank goodness I have a Dream Catcher. Of course I have a Dream Catcher, my good friends John Lame Deer and The Lady of The White Buffalo had given that to me long before. But the Dream Catcher. Where was it? It wasn’t doing its job, catching these bad dreams before they got out of hand. Things began to get weird.
I looked around for my Dream Catcher again. It’s usually in my glovebox. It wasn’t there. And then, I found it. It was all around me. What? Yes. Out there on the side of Route 80 in the snowbank, and still sound asleep, instead of just sitting back, settling in, and watching the movie in my mind that was my dream, I felt myself getting all tangled up in the web of my own Dream Catcher. Wha? I got confused, thinking What am I doing here? This is just a dream! I need to get out and just watch, and I began fighting against the strings, trying to disentangle myself, but it seemed the more I struggled, the more entrenched I became. It seemed like it went on for hours and hours. It was exhausting. I tired. And that’s when it happened. Suddenly, I felt parts of me starting to slip through the web, magically disentangling themselves from the part of me that was the nightmare, taking on a life of their own, pulling away, and passing through, to the other side. I wanted to go with them. They were calling to me, I could feel their pull. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and willed myself to just let go, and as I did, I felt myself slip right through the Dream Catcher’s web, or at least those mysterious parts of myself did, and off I went into my dream, and that’s when I realized that I was no longer in the dream, I was the dream. Has this ever happened to you? It was so strange, so very very strange.
On the other side, I felt like I was waking up, somehow. Becoming myself again. I saw a road, as clear as the hood ornament on my face, a lovely highway, in lovely weather. No ice. No snow. Blue sky, birds singing the most beautiful melody, a perfect harmony. Ah. And then a man, a real man, not a god or a goddess, standing further on down the road. He was hitchhiking. I put myself in gear and approached. Why, it was my old friend Jack Kerouac! Then I knew I was still dreaming, because poor Jack, he’s been gone a long while. He hopped in before I even rolled to a full stop, which was so like him. He sat down in the passenger seat, took his time lighting up a cigarette, looked over at my steering wheel and said “I have nothing to offer you but my own confusion, LV, but let’s take off!” That was typical Jack, too.
I laughed. “Jack! I’m so relieved to see you! What a time I’ve had,” and I began to explain what had happened, and went on to say that I had just finished re-reading his book “Big Sur,” reconfirming in my mind not only what a genius he was, but also what a crazy motherfucker. He had been a dear friend of mine long ago, and I was so ready to just settle in and talk his face off. He surprised me by interrupting me, slamming his hand down on my dash and screaming “SHUT! UP!” Huh?
I was deeply hurt. Jack was my friend! And then I was angry. How dare he speak to me like that?! I calmed myself down by reminding myself that “this is only a dream, this is only a dream, this is only a dream … ” I waited. Jack spoke again, this time more kindly. ”The roads don’t move, you’re the one that moves, LV,” he said, and as he did so, he pointed to something in the road ahead. I saw then why he had shushed me. I slammed on the brakes. Ahead of us stood the most magestic creature. I am not sure I can do it justice here in black and white type. Oh Blog, I wish you could have seen what we saw then!
Ahead of us stood a creature of great majesty. A woman, but not just any ordinary woman. This woman, she was absolutely and completely transparent. I could see right through her. The only thing inside of her was a light, like a candle, where her heart should be. She glowed. Other than that she was about six feet tall, with wild, wavy hair that included every color of the rainbow and hung almost to her feet, when it wasn’t whipping and blowing all about her, as it seemed to constantly be. Her entire being seemed to be alive, moving. Her eyes? The color of the sky, indeed, they were the sky, every now and then you would see a cloud pass through them. She raised her hands high into the air as her long rainbow hair blew out behind her. Welcome she said, her voice sounding like The Wind. We stared at each other.
Slowly, this woman, whom I decided to call The Mistress of Dreams, approached, and then circled me. She walked, well more like floated, all around me, dragging her transparent hand behind her as she did so, running her long fingers over me lightly, gently, absentmindedly, almost as an afterthought, as if we were intimate friends, but her mind were very busy with something else and she wanted me to know she was there. It was oddly comforting, and strangely seductive. Her hand was so warm, it felt like fire.
But then, she began to speak, and that was it; I was completely lost in her essence. She was like a siren, her voice the voice of an angel, every word a song. I had no idea what she was saying, it was almost as if she was speaking a different language, but it all made perfect sense to me. I looked at Jack for guidance and he just laughed and laughed. She stepped into the car, right through the door, she didn’t even open it, and into the driver’s seat. We started out.
To my amazement, when I went to drive ahead, there was no road. I hesitated. She stepped on the gas. I resisted. Clouds passed across her sky eyes. She did not like to be defied. To be a woman and to be turned down, I thought. (I love that song beyond explanation, beyond all reason, OMG.) She read my mind, and laughed. I will be your cowgirl in the sand, she said. I was kind of like, uh, what? But Jack seemed suddenly more alert. She stepped on the brake. Jack settled back down. She put her transparent hands on my steering wheel, and rested her transparent cheek there, watching Jack closely. She began to speak, in plain English, to me.
“LV, you must trust me. You must trust me if we are going to move ahead. I mean you no harm.”
“I know,” I said. “I do,” I said.
“No, you don’t,” she said. “You hesitate.”
I didn’t say anything. She was right, of course, I had. Hesitated.
“Trust me,” she said, again, and without any hesitation herself, she sat back up and stepped on the gas, hard.
I didn’t hesitate this time. I flew forward, expecting to kick up a cloud of dust and dirt. Instead, I watched, amazed, as the road grew before me, and not only before me, but behind me. Every few feet I drove forward, the road stretched out twice as far behind me! What’s more, the road was so many different colors, beautiful, beautiful colors, and the more I went forward, the more and the faster the road seemed to grow. I sped up. Amazing! The road’s forward progress grew exponentially. The Mistress of Dreams smiled, and began to sing. I thought I recognized the song, but I wasn’t sure, she was singing so quietly.
As we drove along, and the road grew farther and farther out in front of us, some strange things came into view. For example, there, John Lame Deer, and The Lady of the White Buffalo, way up ahead. They were laying white feathers in the middle of the road, end to end, one after the other, for miles and miles and miles, but by the time I reached them, the feathers looked just like that old white line in the middle of the road. And the Blue Heron, he flew behind and away from me, drawing what looked like a carpet behind him, laying a road of the most beautiful blue. As I watched in my rear view mirror, I noticed that there seemed to be some sort of a crowd gathering way off in the distance; the Blue Heron flew toward them.
There were other things. Two beautiful birds flew just in front of me, never straying very far than just right there. A falcon. And a raven. They flew very close together. I began to think of them as one. And other things. Like the way I could just think about something and make it happen. What would the world look like if the sky were green and the grass was blue? Bam! It was thus. Pink trees? There they were! It was so fun. Finally, though, I began to tire, even in my dream. The Mistress of Dreams slowed me to a stop. The road stopped growing ahead, and behind, but it was so long and far and wide now that I couldn’t see where it began, or where it ended.
“Do you see what’s happening, LV?” she asked me.
“Yes … I think so,” I answered. She waited.
“I need to keep moving forward,” I said. She smiled.
“Yes. The parts of yourself that slipped through the Dream Catcher were the parts of yourself that allow you to move forward. Hope. Courage. Enthusiam. Creativity. Honesty. Truth. Love.”
“The parts that held you back, that got you all tangled in the web, the parts the Dream Catcher was trying to ensnare were …”
“I know,” I said. “Fear. Insecurity. Doubt. Worry?”
“Yes,” she smiled. I smiled back at her. It was clear to me now what this dream had been all about. Sometimes dreams are just dreams, but sometimes they are our brains way of working things out.
“But .. The road behind me? I don’t understand,” I said.
“Ah,” she answered, and turned to look behind us. I followed her gaze. The crowd was still there, way off in the distance, but they seemed slightly closer to us now. Still, I couldn’t make them out.
“Who are they?” I asked.
“Those are The Soldiers, LV,” she answered, quietly. “Every step forward that you take, reaches a road back behind you to them; a road to lead them home.”
I held my breath. I understood. I felt an urge to keep moving forward.
“It’s alright, LV,” the lady said. “You must rest. Everything in good time.”
“But .. but …” I wanted to get going! I have a job to do. I felt anxious. Urgent. And how much time had passed anyway? Was Neil back in California? Still in New York? Somewhere else? I needed to find him. I get so anxious when I can’t find him.
“LV, you must learn to not only respect the past, and strive for the future, but to appreciate the present.”
Bullshit, I thought. I had heard that a hundred times before. I have things to do, I thought! The lady laughed. I was embarrassed. I forgot about these dream people, how they can read your thoughts.
“Let me try to explain this to you in a way that will resonate with you, LV,” she said. “You have described me to yourself as a creature of … majesty, yes?”
“Yes,” I thought. I didn’t bother to say it aloud.
“Well. Let me put this in terms of myself, then,” she said, in her sing-song voice. “My hair, it is the past. It has many colors. Beautiful colors! It curls around my face and makes me who I am. It is wild. It is beautiful. But it is heavy. Sometimes, it drags me down. Sometimes, I must push it out of my way to move forward, or I can’t see the road before me. Still, I carry it with me, it comes with me wherever I go.”
“My eyes. They are the future. They are clear. Blue. Beautiful. Yes? They see. You are drawn to them. But … They have their clouds. Clouds with names. Like Fear. Insecurity. Doubt. Worry.”
I knew what she meant. I have spent some time worrying about the future. I knew those clouds. The Mistress of Dreams had stopped talking. Clouds had come into her eyes. I could see that she was struggling to let them pass.
“Id quo nihil maius cogitari potest… We draw these thoughts to our selves,” she said softly, and suddenly her eyes cleared, and they were that perfect sky blue again. Her hair suddenly turned all one color, a beautiful dark pine green, she looked exactly like my beloved California coast, with trees of green and ocean sky sea of blue, and also exactly like the Maine coast of my youth. Jack suddenly spoke up and breathed softly “Big Sur!” We both looked at him and he suddenly sunk down into the seat as if asleep, or dead. I left it.
“But what about the present,” I asked her. “What about the here and now?”
She smiled. “I’m glad you asked me that LV,” she said, and placed her hand on her heart, or whatever that was glowing inside of her.
“This light represents the present, the here and now. This is my driving force, my energy, my light! If I focus too much on the past, or the future, my light gets very dim.” I watched as she made her hair change to first pink then blue then red then black and white then back to rainbow; each time the light within her died a little more. Then, her eyes, she closed them for a long moment, and I saw a struggle on her face. When she opened them I drew back and gasped, as the beautiful blue was gone and a terrible storm raged there now; her heart light almost went completely out.
“Understand, LV?” she said. I did. I wanted to wake up. I wanted to go home. I dropped my headlights as if to sleep and thought very hard about going home. I felt a cold hand on my hood. I lifted my headlights. It was her hand. Why was it so cold? It had been so warm before. Then I saw. In her other hand, she held the light, the light that had been inside of her! She had reached inside herself and pulled it out. She was coming to my passenger side now. Opening the door with her cold transparent hand, she reached in and placed the light, like a candle without the wax, on my dash. And just like that, she disappeared.
When I woke up, I was back at the ranch, in the barn that is our garage, and there was Neil, just leaning against the wall, looking at me, watching me sleep. I felt my heart leap up.
“N.! You’re home! I’m home!”
How had I gotten home? I wondered. Instinctively, I looked for the light on my dash. Of course it wasn’t there, it had all been a dream. Hadn’t it? Of course it had been. I felt relieved, and sad, at the same time.
Neil smiled, and in two quick steps he was there next to me, opening my driver’s door. The next minute we were backing out of the barn-garage together. Neither of us said anything for a few minutes. Then:
“You’re not going to sell me on eBay are you?”
Neil was silent for a minute. I checked in the rear view mirror to see if he was giving me “The Look.” He wasn’t. His face had a look I could not read. Finally, he spoke.
“Bad dreams, LV?” I thought he sounded slightly distant, but I couldn’t be sure.
“Yeah. Well .. Sort of,” I said, kind of wishing I hadn’t brought it up again.
“Listen, LV. I’m not selling you on eBay. Not now. Not ever. We have a job to do,” Neil said, and he patted my steering wheel, like he does. His voice was gentle, but definitive. I thought to myself how kind he always was to me, since we have been over this before. He is so patient, I thought. Why is he so patient with me? I caught a glimpse of Neil’s eyes in the rear view mirror then, and suddenly I was like Whoa. I saw the sky there. The actual sky! When I looked again, it was gone. Had I imagined that? My dream had really gotten into my head.
“What’s the matter, LV, you look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Neil said, with a kind of half smile.
“Neil, I think I learned some things in my dream last night,” I said.
“Yeah LV? Like what?” he asked.
“Well, to live more in the present. To stop worrying about the future and enjoy the moment. The road. The road I’m on right now.”
Neil didn’t say anything, so I went on.
“You know. The here and now. The journey. I mean, I can’t wait for us to get back out there on the road together, but I am going to try harder to enjoy the moment, and the process of getting there.”
Still Neil didn’t speak, but he kind of smiled to himself, looked both ways as we left the ranch, and pulled us out onto the road. He was humming a song. It was the same song I had heard The Mistress of Dreams singing! I recognized it now as I heard Neil start to softly sing the words.
There’s a world you’re living in,
No one else has your part …
We drove and drove. First in silence, and then, after a while, neither of us could hardly get a word in. We talked and talked, about everything. That’s how it is with us. It’s just easy, you know, to be together. Finally, we pulled into a lookout point that we liked; we went there together often to just be still and wonder at the moon, and other things. Neil put me in park and we were both quiet for a while. Finally, Neil sort of got around to talking about what I had told him about my dream.
“You know, LV, it’s not always about the next Full Moon. Maybe it’s about this one.”
I didn’t say anything. I wanted him to go on. I love it when he talks to me. He did.
“You want to focus on the road, LV, the road you’re on right now, you should be able to do that better than anyone right? You’re a car. You know all about the road.”
I knew he was encouraging me to do as I had said I would. Encouraging me to not spend so much time worrying about the future, and enjoy the ride. The journey. The road. Then, very gently, he said one more thing.
“You have to trust me, LV,” he said. And then, without waiting for an answer, he leaned across my front seat, and opened my glovebox. He pulled out my Dream Catcher and hung it on my mirror. I laughed.
“No more bad dreams,” he said, smiling. He is so kind to me, I thought again. I’m glad there is you, I thought to myself. I trust you with my whole heart, I thought to myself.
Neil smiled to himself. Then, reaching deeper into my glove box, he pulled out something small; a moonstone! And another, and another. So beautiful. I had almost forgotten they were in there. We stared at them a while, glowing there in the moonlight as Neil held them in his hand, open to the sky, and then he placed them carefully on my dashboard. ”So they can see the moon,” he said.
“So they can see the moon,” I repeated.
We sat there together, for a long while, just wondering at the moon. There was something on my mind.
“You have to trust me too, Neil,” I thought to myself. I wondered if he had heard me. (That sounds kind of strange, maybe, but you know, sometimes I think that Neil can read my mind. And sometimes I think that I can read his. We’re funny like that. And lucky like that.) He was silent for a while. But then he nodded, slowly. In agreement? Maybe. I wasn’t really sure. But then. The most amazing thing happened.
Neil reached over to my glovebox again, and pulled something out, from way in the back. I couldn’t see what it was. He placed it on my dashboard. I heard the strike of a match. It was the light, from The Mistress of Dreams.
I didn’t say anything. We both stared into the light for a while. Then Neil said, so softly I almost didn’t hear him,
“I know, LV.” And then, “I’m right here. With you.”
I could tell Neil was ready to go then. Neil turned me on and threw me into drive. But just before we pulled back out onto the road, I glanced into the mirror and caught his eye. He didn’t say anything, but he did that kind of half smile thing that he does. And I am certain, this time, that in his eye, I saw not only calm, but the whole sky. The whole big blue sky. There wasn’t a cloud in it.