Think, for a moment, of all the time wasted by men and women throughout history attempting to articulate the concept of beauty. There’s Pythagoras in pre-Socratic Greece, and his theories of beauty aligning with the golden ratio; beautiful math. The Renaissance brought about a lot of concepts on beauty, human, natural, man-made. Modern society has its own niches of beauty: children, flowers, Hallmark card sunsets, and simple laughter. But beyond these grandiose concepts of universal beauty, there is personal beauty, that is, within the eye of the beholder, as it is said. Experiences, blips of time that provide inner appreciation and adoration, for seemingly no reason but that it just is. This is what leads to my tale of sheer and utter beauty, the night the sky bled.
One night in early summer, a few close friends and I took a trip to the beach. With fresh packs of cigarettes, a blanket, and heavy souls, we walked the cold sand down to the waterfront. We sat, and we talked. Our fears, our misery, our icy satisfaction in dissatisfaction all filling the air. And though the sea was black, out of spite it seemed, the need to brave it rose. How could we allow the natural world to conquer our torn hearts and minds?
And so, we stood, men facing the horizon, lungs filled with sand, smoke, and adolescent determination. Some slowly, others face first, waded and dove in. The water a paradox: burning our skin. But as we walked out back to the sand, I felt something. Something that transcended the five senses. As my feet reached dry land, I started to understand just what had happened. My anxieties and vibrating worries were no more. My heart, my eyes, my being as a whole was cleansed. Reaffirmed within myself.
And so we sat again. And talked again. Now our voices filled with optimism and hope. We looked back at the water, seeing our dark angst floating in the dark salty sea, our dread and panic drowning in the waters that had just saved us.
Maybe it was excitement, or my glasses just being caked in wet sand, but I took no notice of the moon the entire night. Luna and I have a bit of a relationship, her playing the role of the intellectual’s temptress, and I her stubborn love. So perhaps she grew jealous that I did not look for her at any point during my soul’s rebirth. She wanted my attention, and now she was willing to give more of herself than ever before. She pulled up her metaphoric dress a bit, flashing those metaphoric thighs in metaphoric lace.
It started as a dot on the horizon. A tiny red scrap of light peeping out from the edge of the night. Before ten minutes had passed, the scrap had turned to the top of a burning disc. Another ten minutes, and we realized what we were watching. The moon, the color of a cigarette’s burning end and consuming a quarter of the horizon, was rising from the underworld, from underground. We sat, awestruck. No one could move, speak, and blinking quickly became a diminishing return. Alone on a beach in central New Jersey, rooted to the sand, watching seemingly innocent pale white Luna beam at us, burn at us, smirk at us.
As I attempted to articulate anything in that moment, it quickly became apparent of just how impossible that was. The night as a whole, every moment of it all, was pure beauty. My heart being lost in darkness, then finding light, and then seeing the natural world throw everything askew. My tongue, usually with the wit of a true scoundrel, was tied down. My soul was floating in the ether of amazement, my existence made worthwhile simply for the experience. That evening and its events are forever solidified as purely and utterly beautiful.