by Raji Singh
The blissful harvest of all our autumn experiences yet-to-come: Quietly it approaches. I hope your fall is bountiful. The yield from the summer of 2014, a blaring brass band of the warmest of memories, preserves in the hearts of the Singh family. We will enjoy its bounty as years pass.
Almost every night of the 2014 summer, the starry sky and twinkling fireflies light our pathway from the Fiction House and into the Lindian Woods. We take strolls – just as millions of other families do – after supper and before dessert. For many the repast is watermelon, ice cream, or pie. For my wife Tenille, our two young children and I, it is Scuppernong grapes. They grow wild near the pond.
This is a time of evening for us to converse about our day while we feast on the tantalizing fruit of the vine. Our senses bombard us at once. The sweet pulp of the Scuppernongs plays gently acrosss our taste buds. Teniile smiles and says. “It’s like a piano concerto and your tongue is the keyboard.”
The tart of the grapes’ thick skin, as its scent wafts into our nostrils, mixing with the damp of the Lindian Woods, seems to calm us. “Feel your chest,” Cathy says, putting her small hands to her blouse. “It makes your heart beat soft and slow, as if you’ve entered deep slumber.”
Who can hear the squish of the grape you bite into, against the cacophony of nature? The Frog Brothers, Frer and Brer, from their bachelor lily pad romance the lovely Toad Sisters on the shore with their ribbit, ribbit chorus. The Ten Otters of the pond gently slap the water as they stare skyward. Turt is trumpeting a Satchmo rift. Crickets come out from hiding under leaves and join his serenade.
Though the breeze is slight, there are small waves on the pond. Thurston jumps about excitedly. “Hey, look everybody. The grasshoppers are surfing on the water.” We look at the waterworld. The grasshoppers are actually ‘Hanging Ten” (or however many a hopper has to hang).
Just then, all becomes eerily quiet as a broad shadow passes above us. Thurston squeezes to Tenille, probably remembering a similar occurrence in some little-boy nightmare. Cathy pulls me close. I feel her tremble and I grasp her.
Suddenly we hear a shout. “Look up, you Singhs.”
Instinctively we do. Wheh! Relief. It is Captain Polly flying overhead, and not some vulture-like apparition.
Cathy calls. “Why did you scare us, Captain Polly?”
Captain Polly doesn’t answer. She squawks loud. “Aaark. See how close Luny Mum is, Singhs. She wants to say hello. In a big way.”
All the creatures of the Lindian Woods look skyward. Our eyes follow their glance and we leave our own little world, and our own worldly concerns. We enter the celestial wonder.
There is the moon, bigger than any of us ever remember seeing her. Her beams overwhelm the Lindian Woods, and turn the pond sheet white, like milk. We look at her through the clusters of grapes we hold, and it is as if she is gowned in the most beautiful shades of purple and red. We cannot speak. We can only enjoy the spectacle of light prisms our orb provides us.
I can almost hear Luny Mum speak to me as when I was an orphan foundling and had only she, Turt and Poppy Sol for my friends. “I am glad you brought your family to see me, Raji. From now on, I’ll help look after them, as I did you.” Luny Mum and Poppy Sol are the protectors of orphan foundlings, until the time we are taken in by humans who will look after us.
Of course, science disputes the magic of the moment I am feeling. We are seeing a Supermoon, the first of three this summer. Technically, my Luny Mum is a “perigee moon’. Mum is massive, and extra bright, because she is about 50,000 kilometers closer than her regular full moon self, an “apogee”. All science aside, to me Luny Mum and Poppy Sol are living celestial entities, just two of the few friends any orphan foundling creates in imagination so we are not alone in a cold world.
My perigee Mum would visits many times in the summer of 2014.
She watches with Tenille and I as we see Thurston discovering the joys os spitting Scuppernong seeds. “He’ll shoot my eye out if he achieves any more distance or accuracy,” she laughs. She eyes Cathy squeezing Scuppernong juice into a pitcher of lemonade. “Mmm! I can just taste it, Raji.” Tenille pours the mix into glasses, which we raise.
“”Here’s to Luny Mum,” we toast. “May everyone appreciate her brightness tonight!” I remember seeing on TV, that people all over the world could see our Super Mum – from outside the Taj Mahal, atop Eifel Tower, alongside the Pyramids at Giza, beside the Great Wall of China – all they’d have to do is look up.
One night our butterfly friend Calico flitted by to visit us. She seemed to hover in the sky for hours. Luny Mum’s brightness shone through the multi-colors of her wings. The Lindian Woods and pond became an efferverscent rainbow glow. The eyes of all the Woodland creatures turned from red to orange to blue to green and back, over and again. Anyone lucky enough to be moseying the Woods at that time would have been treated to a light display more dazzling than any Fourth of July fireworks show.
Thank you Luny Mum, for a summer the Singhs and billions of others will never forget.
(Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. They are completely different stories. My novel is available at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.)
©2014 Raji Singh