I possess a moon carved from onyx. Smooth bands of tan intersperse glossy gradations approaching the purity of white, and I love to linger my fingers over its slickness. Each time, however, that I touch one of the moon's corners where it curves towards fullness, I'm startled anew by the sharpness.
I hadn't intended to own an onyx moon. But, after descending one quarter of a mile into a cavern that was wholly underground, I saw the moon at a gift shop when I emerged from the earth and immediately coveted the object. The journey into the cavern, of course, fascinated me. The atmosphere within remained womb-like, at a constant temperature--and as I traveled into the ever-narrowing seventh level beneath the ground, I folded over into a fetal position to glimpse the mysteries of the water table.
Observing the absolute stillness of the water in that cramped spot
restricted my breath. In contrast, the water stayed unaffected by
turbulence above and remained hushed and serene.
I didn't (and still don't!) fully grasp the significance of that calm water, nor did I yet honor the moon's ability to be born again and again
and again. But, I did respect my irresistible urge to position the onyx on a shelf given to me while pregnant with my younger son. The shelf was sturdy and it was oak. Two hearts are carved upon its surface and three pegs surround those hearts. While that design wasn't intentionally crafted to create personal imagery, those hearts have come to represent my two kind and caring and beautiful boys, and the three alternating pegs honor the number of my pregnancies.
So that onyx moon, with its connotations of tides and femininity, luminescence and fertility, belonged on that shelf of wood. Renewal and
change were challenging the steadfastness and reliability of earth and the result could merge into something extraordinary.
Before placing the onyx on the oak, I pounded nails into the wall above, and I hung up two dolphins. Burnished and aquamarine, one graceful mammal leaps up in a gesture of joy, while the other one dares to plunge. These dolphins aren't merely carvings, either. Rather, they are dolphin-boomerangs and they can fly in superb and unique circles in the sky, a perfect complement to the boomerang's symbolism of the cycle and balance of life. Whatever you toss out into the universe, boomerang philosophy advises, will come back to you. But, it also cautions, you must throw out splendor and courage and honor and integrity without attaching strings or weighing down the boomerang with expectations. Instead, you simply bestow what veracity you can to your surroundings and sprinkle your blessings upon the cosmos.
So, I thought, as I adjusted the boomerangs upon the nails, I now have an oak shelf, an onyx moon and two diametrically opposing yet cyclical dolphins. To complete my yearnings and my vision, I then added one more item to my shelf, a cup adorned with nautical imagery. Ebb and flow, in and out, skies and tides.
Within the cup, I secreted two precious objects: a tiny guardian angel intricately crafted from pewter and a rock of swirling amethyst. Total strangers gifted me with the angel; while at a festival, a man and woman slipped that pewter into my hand. The amethyst? Bought for a dollar, I marvel at its association with moonlight and female intuition.
Moonlight. It's always back to the radiance of the moon, isn't it? I once created a phrase, Howling at the Half Moon, to express my frenzy at injustice. That phrase has given birth to many bouts of rage, often fully justified. But, the eternal wisdom of the waxing and waning moon gently reminds me that life isn't always unjust, that we need to embrace spiritual gifts of the universe to become more than half-full, and that our definition of wholeness can evolve and expand with the shifting tides of our growth and maturity as women.
Kelly has published over 1,000 pieces of her writing in newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias and online venues. Her book, Bout Boomerangs: America's Silent Sport, was declared "nearly perfect" by the Australian National Boomerang Coach and her newest book, Birth of Illumination shares the rise of the public library system where Toni Morrison worked as a teenager. Kelly also teaches two courses on writing nonfiction for Writer's Digest at WritersOnlineWorkshops.com.