To Measure the Moon ~ L'assemblage ©MichaelDouglasJones 2019
Breaking day sun slips through the thornapple branches in jagged cuts of light and night. I rise with its pain, and listen, but Courage does not call out commands, or curse from atop the porch step to the chattel below; she will not wait for reinforcements. Courage whispers, and walks toward the plank road where the work will be done. She does not ask to be Courage, as I do; she takes the task at hand and handles it now, so I walk behind her fo a time, in the early morning, as the fog lifts beyond the tree line. We are tasked this day to measure the moon, at the ridgetop, a full day’s journey, and the many that stay behind say it cannot be measured, it is beyond our scope, and the demons on the ridge are many. Courage wears the scars and creases of those demons, so I will walk behind her awhile, and ask to be Courage for this one day.
I wear my father’s butternut overcoat, and deep inside the left pocket is the Colt pistol that he turned on himself, in the war before this war. I carry the weight of that Colt, the weight of that coat, the wet wool heavy on my scars and shoulders, and every morning, I reach into its worn pocket, moving my fingers across the blood and oil polished pistol grip, knowing that I am on his path; knowing that his way was thick with thorns and tangled honeysuckle vines, with deep mud, and deeper madness, and I ask to be Courage for this one day.
Courage is quiet, and walks with a steady step through the tall grass, even as the grade steepens near the slip rail, a full furlong before the plank road, where the work will be done. I fall behind in the high noon sun, my heavy boots caked with the drying mud of years lost, trudging the circling path of thorn and vine. By late afternoon, Courage is a shrinking silhouette on the west ridge, and I am remembering the cool shade of the hawthorn and the thick sweet scent of honeysuckle, its taste on my lips, so I sit for awhile to consider my direction for tomorrow, and move the pistol to my right pocket.