Moonlight and Roadkill and Making Peace with the Past


There was a time when my spiritual life was anchored by two things: the moon and animals that had been killed by oncoming traffic.

Seeing a white crescent hanging in a blue sky would bring an unaccustomed smile to a face that was creased with worry over a life I could not figure out how to live. I’d whisper “Hi, Lady” and feel the glint of some divine power in what I considered a very bleak existence.

Catching sight of a crumpled, furry corpse would make me shiver in the way you might expect, but it also offered me my only experience of prayer. Again in a whisper I would say, “I commend your soul to the Goddess.” I’d drive on, convinced, at least for a few moments that a great, compassionate Being watched over us all, especially her most defenseless creatures.

I was in a relationship that dissolved my sense of self and power and I was working in a job that truly soul destroying experience. (If ever I weary of an idyllic college library, I need to remember the gigantic orthopedic surgeons’ office in a high rise; I’ve never met people so miserable as the female secretaries of all those male doctors.)

dsc01228My boyfriend, whom I thought I had to love beyond all sense and reason, was a great guy – but just not for me. For all that he could not understand or reach me, he did have his own stores of wisdom as he tried to create a life with the very depressed woman who shared his home. I remember him saying that he wished I had a cat to come home to so that I could be able to look forward to coming home each night to a creature who loved me (he worked nights, so he was apparently looking for a four legged substitute for himself). As much as I yearned for a pet, I know I despised him a little for that comment and for leaving me alone so much that I needed to find friendship at the ASPCA.

Of course, looking back I salute him for being so right.

Each day I awake to count my blessings. A man I love with all the right mix of sensibleness and unreasonableness and everything in between. A pair of cats who greet me at the door and make me laugh every day and warm the bed each night. A clear, open sky full of the moon and the open eyes to see her. An awareness of the Divine in all things, not just departed squirrels and waxing celestial bodies.

I bask in the empathetic gaze of animal friends as well as the awesome, changing power of the moon and understand that hopelessness is a habit long outgrown.

img_2040And still, recognizing that I still greet the Lady when I see a smudge of white on the morning horizon or repeat a prayer over every departed animal, just as I did when my life was at its worst, reminds me that there is worth in every moment of life, even when it feels wasted and pointless. Back then, despite the thick fog of despair that was my twenty-third year of life, a connection to my true self still blazed forth.

I have never felt so distanced from that chain-smoking girl as I do now, but I must respect and remember that poor lost girl. She helped to create the woman I love to be today.

I honor the person I no longer have to be. She is every bit a part of me, just as the phases of the moon and a connection to animal life is a part of my every day.

Recognizing that even when life seems to be at its maddest, there is still a connection to true self. I feel so much closer to that and ususally laugh off my past as an unrecogniable dark period, but in fact, that woman created who i am now. Honoring her, just as I honor the moon and the animals who lost their battle with oncoming cars.

4 thoughts on “Moonlight and Roadkill and Making Peace with the Past

  1. Bridget January 15, 2009 / 11:38 pm

    I love you and your remarkable self. And you have said the thing in this post that I have not successfully been able to internalize.

    “hopelessness is a habit long outgrown”

    Habits. They have their teeth and claws in me right now, but I know, with work, I too will outgrow…

  2. Bridget January 15, 2009 / 11:38 pm

    Oh, and I love those pictures of your two beauties. Meowwww.

  3. Tess January 17, 2009 / 2:59 pm

    About three months ago on a beautiful day, I was driving a back country road I often use when I saw something in the middle of the road. At first I thought it was a red bag of some kind, but as I drove closer I realised it was blood – the body of a muntjac deer, limbs and head splayed at impossible angles.
    At the same time, I became acutely aware of the beauty of the blue sky, shading into orange as the sun began to set, and the glorious amber shades of autumn leaves on trees either side of the road and away into the distance.
    I felt as if the moment stretched and stretched into infinity and was full of the knowledge that the elements of ugliness, death, beauty and rebirth are necessary for each other and coexistent.
    It was one of those extraordinary moments out of time and I was reminded of it by your beautiful reflections here of the way in which the self you were has given birth to the self you are today, and was necessary to it.

    • girlwhocriedepiphany January 25, 2009 / 10:57 am

      Dear Tess, What a brilliant image… It is amazing the messages we receive, especially in those moments when we see life juxtaposed with death.

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