In early January, Wuthering Park lay as a white lagoon of virginal snow bordered by pewter hued hills to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
Legend has it that these rolling hills along Oregon’s southern coast were formed by a glacier sea. The earth beneath its frozen waters were ground and gentled into sandy, wind-swept knolls as the ice retreated northward – coward not by climate, but by God’s plan for a greater purpose of the dunes.
From the back deck of my cabin, just off the ocean’s shoreline, I looked out upon those hills. Earlier today I’d read there was to be Blue Moon tonight. Such phenomenon promised fleeting moments of magic; and so in hopeful anticipation I donned a pair of binoculars and peered into the darkening landscape beyond my deck.
A rising full moon shimmered behind frost encrusted sea grass crowning the dunes, their proud fronds silhouetted against a starlit sky.
Soon, a speck of light bobbing and trekking its way across the wide expanse of snow caught my eye. Curious, I adjusted my binoculars, blinking several times to clear my head.
Not one or two, but three tiny animals were trudging along in the snow. Standing erect, none wore shoes, but each was dressed in a particular fashionable style. The first - the one carrying a lighted torch - was a badger wearing a green checkered vest. Behind him, a rabbit with a scarlet muffler; and finally, a sorrel pelted beaver with gold-rimmed pin-nez.
I dashed with what stealth I could muster; momentarily losing them when a fog bank rolled in off the shore.
What happened next is hard to explain. The fog lifted and I happened upon them gathered around a roaring fire. The fire was fitted into a hollow dug into the sand and filled with driftwood that popped and spit from the salt and moisture hidden in its core.
Coming into the circle of flames, the three looked up at me in unison; neither surprise nor fear distorting their wonderful and friendly features.
“Welcome, good fellow,” the badger greeted me with a smile. “Join us, please.”
Moving to sit with them, I noticed another miraculous thing. Looking down I was now barefoot; and my feet - smaller. I stretched out my hands and they were the hands of my youth. I felt my face; there was no stubble of beard, only the softness of childhood.
Without ceremony, the rabbit handed me a stick skewered with marshmallows on the end. “Smores,” he explained, winking. “Simon has the graham crackers and chocolate.” He gestured toward the somewhat rotund beaver, grinning sheepishly with the afore mentioned food caught in his whiskers.
“My name is Petra,” the rabbit said, “and Guther is the badger who carried the torch leading us here. We welcome you.”
Taking the offered skewer, my stomach rumbled at the rich aroma of cooking food coming from the fire.
“Portobello mushrooms stuffed with Gorda cheese,” Simon explained, “and I’ve pineapples sprinkled with brown sugar and drizzled with honey, roasting in foil beneath the wood’s embers. Life, I’ve found to be uncertain, so it’s best to east dessert first. However,” he continued, looking at his companions, “I know some disagree, so we’ve roasted some red peppers and corn still, in their sheaves – with butter and pepper of course.”
Sitting with them, I turned my marshmallows in the flames, watching them bubble and brown, as another curious thing occurred. A lightness of heart, which I’d not felt since adolescence filled me. Disbelief became suspended in the aura of these new comrades.
“I know you must have countless questions,” Guther said, “but for now, simply believe what your heart is letting you see.”
“Belief is a heart matter you know,” added Petra sagely. And as he said this – as I shared their bounty of thoughts and food into the waning night’s hours - I realized I was being nourished by something far greater than simple camp food and friendship.
Soon, too soon, the golden glow of a morning sun peeked over the pallid hills. The Blue Moon’s magic vanished like an ebbing tide out to sea - carrying my friends and our time together with it.
Afterwards, I wondered if others would ever believe my tale - intangible creatures speaking of intangible things such as imagination, faith and beliefs. All I can offer is Petra’s words belief is a matter of the heart.
All intangible things that make a mortal world less harsh – what heart would chose not to believe?
Blue Moon: the appearance of the third full moon in a season that has four full moons, instead of the usual three. Colloquially the term is used to mean a rare event.
The quote: “Life is uncertain, eat dessert first” is attributed to Ernestine Ulmer.
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