Around 9:30 p.m. on the night of the blue moon, July 31, 2004, I walked to the lakefront via the 57th Street underpass to visit the moon as it reflected silvered sunlight across Lake Michigan. The moon was directly in front of me, casting a straight beam. As I walked north along the grass and rocks, the moon and its beam followed me evenly in a line.
An odd thought occurred to me: If the weather were clear in Pennsylvania, the moon might at that moment be shining on the grave of my father, where he has lain for exactly three years. I felt comforted by the thought that the moon was shining its full benevolence first on him and my mother (1983), then on me.
It was not silent, beyond the wet sound of the waves’ movements. There was the boom and thunder of fireworks, and I remembered that it was Chicago’s Venetian Night, when the Grant Park Orchestra plays, boats parade, and fireworks signal the end of the revels.
It was now past 10 o’clock, so I said farewell to the moon with a promise to look for it again. After coming out of the 55th Street underpass, I sat on a bench as though I were tired. Soon, a stream of partygoers began emerging from the tunnel. I realized they had clustered on the north side of Promontory Point to watch the fireworks while I was on the south part, watching the stillness of the moon and the boats crossing its trail of white light.
The crowd on one side; me on the other.
The way it has been and will be.
But the moon is mine. Maybe it is where I came from.