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To Scale

Posted Nov 30 2011 5:45pm

My mother sends an emailSubject: moon calendar
Message: Shall we let it go this year?
What to say to this? We have been sending each other lunar phase calendars every year for many years. They hang on the walls of both our houses, one long column for every month, the moon waxing and waning down the line. I forget which one of us started it.

Shall we let it go this year?
I like letting things go. I like standing over the trash can and dropping things in, severing earthly ties, relinquishing things to the curb, to the ash pile, to memory's rippled black stream. I am good at it, practiced. In fact, is it the actual letting go or is it the practice that I like, the discipline, the refusal to cling, the soundless thrill of the instant of abstention, of well-rehearsed, well-performed frugality? The solace of diminution, of attenuation. Smallness.

I have always wanted to be small. And am. This, too, a rehearsal of sorts.

I have just come back from walking the dog. Without my glasses, the holiday lights strewn across bushes and porch railings looked just like cake sprinkles - like gold and silver dragees and like the tinier beads of multicolored sugar confetti - and the bushes were little dark cakes, or model train bushes, and the trees and houses like model train trees and houses, and the lawns and streets and shops all the same, so that it was like walking in a model village, everything properly small under the sky. And in the sky, even the moon was to scale, pinched and pale up there in the fibrous, endless, ragged purple landscape: it was a matte white curve, a bitten-off bit of fingernail, it was so little, the moon.
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