Whitby Written all Through it
[Revised 2012. Second revision 2016.]
The moon lit a path towards the shoe as though pointing the finger of guilt at me.
My sister and I—either one of us could have said that.
Did one of us say—“Wow!”?
Was that a thing we would have said, in those days?
No. I could set this within a historical period but, if I don’t, its potential threads are not yet attached.
Hard to describe—when it must have been described so many times before—the path of moonlight, silver, over still (so it must have seemed at dead of night) black water towards—
Did it stretch to the horizon?
I can’t, now, quite remember how it looked.
I try to picture the full moon, hanging (as full moons do) in the dark sky—the silvery path reflected from it over the water—
I can’t quite get the logistics of how it might be.
I have some vague geometric recollection—I imagine the problem as a diagram, on a schoolbook page, allotted paths designated by straight, ruled lines, and possibilities as dotted…the something-something—right-angle—on the hypotenuse—
Whether the silver path would appear to stretch to the horizon or not—wouldn’t that depend on where the moon was?
Thus, I reason.
If there was an obstruction, somehow, between moon and—where its reflection could fall—
Maybe an alien spacecraft passing in front of the moon, just at that moment, and the spacecraft so huge…
No. That must be another story.
To describe this full moon with accuracy, I think, I would need to be able to view another full, or almost full, moon (minus the spacecraft)—somewhere, sometime—at night, of course—
No—it would be no good trying to watch from an alien spacecraft, in which case, I could conceivably look at it in the day—and anyway, if I did, I’d have difficulty spotting its silvery path, way below on some small sea—there wasn’t an alien spacecraft, in fact—
I would watch the moon. I’d be on the ground, at night, and I would watch it from its rising—is the moon quite so white when it first rises?
When is it a blood moon?
The moon lit a bloody path—
You can see my problems of authenticity. Another moon would not be the moon that I’m thinking of—and there was one, a particular one—
What? I know there is only one moon—whether I look at it by day or by night, from whatever vantage point I may or may not have, no matter which day or night I view it upon. I know that! But—it’s a convention, see, to think of a moon at one particular time as—precisely that—a moon—and—if you look at it again another time—to think of it as another moon…
It wasn’t midnight when we saw this particular moon, my sister and I, but it was late enough, the moon high enough, the sea black enough—like treacle—the path…
The path was as long as it was.
It was beautiful, that moon—and its reflection over the water creating a silvery path…
I could give details of how it was we were in that place at that time—holiday, teenagers, parents at clubhouse—us, not even sneaking out—but saying, one of us—why not go—what a good idea (the other of us)—down the path—on to the beach at night—it was afterwards that our mother said—you did what!? you could have—oh, Mam!
To have read of such a thing, a moon casting a path over dark water, and to see it, are not the same—I know because I do have at least one experience of a moon’s lit path…
But not towards a shoe.
This is where some fiction could come in, if I liked…
I was out in a boat, somewhere near the horizon, and I saw the moon’s silvery path lighting over the slightly choppy, black sea, and towards a strangled beach—no, body—I mean a shoe, left upon the sea’s edge, the moon’s guilty finger of light pointing at it—or that could be me…