To Capture the Moon

I often see the most beautiful and intriguing things while confined to a bus or car. It frustrates me because I want to sink a strong picture of what I see into my mind. I want to taste it, smell it, hold it, own it- to be able to call it up in all its sensory details at my whim. But there’s always a pane of glass between me and the object I want to possess- a reflection of yearning in my eyes and of the bus interior painted over the outside scene.

Earlier tonight, on a the grueling return bus ride from two short stops in Tuscany wine towns and one longer stop at a villa, I bent down to retrieve a pen I had dropped to the bus floor and on my rise upwards the moon captured my vision. It had been hidden behind plastic that was pulled down to shade the bus driver’s eyes from the white Tuscan sun. But there it was from my new point of view- a painted moon of brilliant golden pink. The moon possessed an inner brilliance I wanted to capture; an otherworldly sheen that I have only experienced when seeing the gilded halos of Fra Fillipo Lippi’s paintings. My hands automatically twitched towards my camera, but I quickly remembered that a pane of glass sheltered by a plastic blind was between me and my moon. Eagerly, I noticed that the road ahead curved slowly away from the moon, and I waited with head bent down and eyes locked on the moon until the bus began to curve and the moon appeared in my window. I scooted over to the window then, almost pressing my face up against streaks of sun lotion smudged against glass.

I wanted that moon. I wanted it’s colors on film, on paint, in whatever way possible. I didn’t care how I captured it, but I wanted it. I wanted to crush pearls and gold leaf together and mix them with pale pink pigments that I would swirl into a spiral-stroked circle on a canvas painted purple. I wanted the bus to stop, to run across the freeway and dive into the waist-high fields with a professional camera and tripod.

But when the moon passed over the Tuscany wheat fields and over barns and old villas painted with the dry earth tones of Italy, I knew that it would be just another flat paint on canvas; just another inspirational photograph hung in a dentist’s office with christian verse typed in fake calligraphic font below.