I’d seen the moon before, the way my dad would marvel over it through the lens of his telescope like it was a rare jewel. Nevertheless, by no means could have imagined it could be as amazing as it was that night, never before thought twice about it hovering there in the sky. Before heading out into the overwhelming dark, I pulled the zipper of my sweatshirt up as far as I could to my neck and replaced my hat with the slightly cozier hood of my jacket, as if to hold on to some of the warmth from the car interior before walking out into the cold. The sky was clear that night, the fresh air invigorating as it sent chills through the core of my body, and we walked down the gravel path through the dunes of Marconi Beach. When we reached the end of the path, I saw the moon. I had no idea it could be so beautiful, something that we see every day of our lives almost reinvented in a way by the ocean air and landscape. It sat in the sky, fat and low like a setting sun, spilling out across the pitch black landscape and skipping across the peaks of toiling waves. It was so full and luminous, so close it seemed you could almost reach out and touch it in the night sky. Everything about it put me in awe, but most of all the sheer size of it. The way the image still glowed behind your eyelids like a big dinner plate when they were closed and how the image of it continued to linger in my mind the next day.
The next day passed by in a rhythm of skim boarding and hanging out at the beach despite the fact that I could not, nor did I want to, shake the image of the night before from my head. That same night we went to Marconi again hoping to catch another glimpse of the moon over the water but what I saw that night impacted me more than the previous day’s adventure. Taking a different route this time, my family and I zigzagged our little Subaru up the curving drive that led in the direction of the White Cedar Swamp where, in past days, we’d oddly enough crossed paths with a Buddhist monk. We parked our vehicle, toasty warm inside, there in the lot and proceeded to walk down a path through the dunes. The moon, we already knew by now, was nowhere in sight. Where it went, I’m not too sure but the darkness was eerie and overwhelming. Equipped only thin sweatshirts and headlamps, we searched for one of the wooden platforms in the dunes to lie down on and look at the stars as an alternative. I wasn’t chilly in particular, my hoodie pulled up over my ears and my hands tucked up inside the sleeves, however the cold still seemed to seep through my canvas sneakers, quickly numbing my toes. The fluorescent lights were harsh and cruel in a way to the landscape which was soft except for some shrubs scattered throughout the sand. When we found our destination, we lay down as comfortable as possible on the cold, hard wood. All was silent except for the din of rolling waves and