I wake and my bed is gleaming with moonlight
Frozen into the dazzling whiteness I look up
To the moon herself
And lie thinking of home
– Li Po, 701-762, translated by W.S. Merwin (1966)
When I traveled across the American West , some years ago, I was taken by just how DARK it got without all of the ambient light from the city around, how magically palpable the stars were. . .how close they seemed. especially crossing the desert, where the landscape and the other-worldly quiet conspired in a way that was spiky and haunted and magical. How luminous the moon is in this dark and quiet part of America.
Saguaro cactus, Indian paintbrushes and other plants in the high desert that right at dusk color the whispering miles of sand-like plumes and mottled or brindled fur. It is rough and lovely and endlessly fierce.
I know why so many songs have been written about the land in our country, for it is worth every song and every bit of ink spilled in the service of worshiping her.