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Rearview Moon

Posted on Posted in Family and Friends, Reflections on Life

sunset while sailing in polynesia on the horizon line blog brianna randall and rob roberts

Ka-chook, ka-chook. Sshhhh. Sshhhh. Ka-chook, ka-chook. The sound of the paddleboard on the flat, calm surface of the water seems too loud in the so-still night air. I paddle farther from the dark sailboats anchored behind me, looking for more quiet. More alone. More space. More uninterrupted moonlight to glide over.

It’s the solstice. I keep thinking it’s the summer solstice, because that’s what’s supposed to happen in June. But here in the southern hemisphere, it’s the shortest day of the year. It’s confusing. So’s the full moon. Somehow, I feel like I’m in two places at once tonight.

It’s probably because of the sudden easy internet access. Yesterday, Facebook, email, blogs, and world news suddenly drew me out of my present and into others’. After almost a month without contact to the outside world, it’s disconcerting. It feels like I have parallell lives: one here in Fakarava, smack in the middle of the ocean at the start of winter. The other in Missoula, surrounded by mountains budding green and bright with the start of summer. It also feels sad, because I want to picture everything in those mountains just as I left it. Like a cupboard neatly stacked, locked frozen in time until I choose to open the doors again.

But life doesn’t work that way. The doors are not mine to open or close.

This full moon is full of change. My loved ones have news of transitions. They are moving to new houses and jobs and towns, and the worst part is that I can’t picture where they are. How they’re sitting on the couch. What their back porch looks like, or the pictures above their new desk. And what happens to the old spaces that they vacate? Or the decade of memories that inhabit those spaces? Is the energy I send to those homes, offices, porches in search of their spirits resting on another person? Weird. Creepy, even.

I stop paddling and stare at the reflection of the moon beyond my little toe. It’s so much smaller reflected on the water than when I look it in the eye. Same goes for the hole in my heart. It’s hard to look longing in the eye. Much easier to peek at it in a rearview mirror, acknowledge it’s general position and then drive the other way. Tonight, though, the moon is holding no prisoners — she’s shoving my longing front and center, telling me to find my anchor rather than drift through fake reflections.

So, I did. I cried tonight. I felt that longing open wide and deep when I saw pictures of the kids looking grown-up, heard my sister’s voice, read that my mom didn’t feel good, reluctantly sent my regrets for not attending a wedding. I took a deep breath, burning down the back of my achy throat. “Look where you are,” I said sternly to myself. “Give thanks for this place, this moment, this moon on this water. The grass is not greener in Montana, merely a different texture.”

Sshhh. Sshhh. I spend a moment on the flat saltwater disengaging my brain and heart from the flurry of my friends, my home, my family back home. I send my love through the wavering moonbeams. And then I paddle back, ka-chook ka-chook, to Wizard, where Rob is drawing pictures of fish and the wonderful couple sharing their boat with us is sleeping soundly.

I paddled through the shortest night of the year on a winter solstice that felt like the warmest summer night I could remember, holding two worlds in the space of a small reflection riding next to my little toe.


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6 thoughts on “Rearview Moon

  1. Thank you all SOOO much for your kind words and for reaching out. It’s super rad to arrive in port and see the messages from all of you…like hugs from across the ocean.

    We appreciate your updates, and your well-wishes. Keep the notes coming so we can keep up with your lives, too.

    Lots of love,
    Bri and Rob

  2. Hey guys,
    Missing you both here, but also so glad to have your blog adventures to read!! Really lovely post Bri! Keep ’em coming. Cool, wet spring has just become 100 degree toaster oven- river time is on and baby Clarice is figuring out how to walk with a little plastic push cart. You two are living an amazing thing- live it up and love it until you are absolutely done with missing home. It’ll all be here when you get back!
    Much love,
    P, J, C Marques

  3. I’m following you two on this blog, but sometimes your posts make me miss you both too much. This post makes me think about how we’re missing out on you as fully as you’re missing out on all of us. BUT. More to share when you return! Wenonah is big, big and, Good Lord, she is happy. She is her dad’s girl, looking just like him. Your “Leaving My Context” article made me think of how much she has to look forward to when you both return and add another layer of family to her life! All three of us send our love.

  4. Ah, BriBri! What a beautiful post. I can so imagine how disconnected you must feel, yet how present in some other worldly way. Changes abound here, indeed; our adventures so dissimilar in scale, yet profound nonetheless. Sending so much love your way. As the new renters signed a lease on my little home today, I thought of all the memories we share there. Thought of you when they commented on the, “cool paint colors” in the basement, the hot summer days when we haphazardly threw yellows and greens on spots of wall. Loved our whimsy! Love you guys.

  5. Well, that just made me cry, too! Beautifully written, wonderfully conveying feelings, images, and sounds. Transported me to your realm for a brief moment. Thanks….



    P.S. Love the picture!

  6. Hi Bri and Rob,

    Just a short note to tell you how much I am enjoying reading your entries and following your adventures. Your poignant reflections on feeling divided between Montana and the South Pacific remind me of the 4 months I spent on Semester at Sea a couple years back: so hard to be fully in the moment of new adventures when also separated from loved ones and loved places! Montana is indeed green and lovely as the summer solstice and full moon move past us here — one of the loveliest times of the year. And both of you are missed very much here! But it is also wonderful to vicariously experience some of your adventures and lives through your rich blog posts — one of the wonders of technology in being able to stay connected!

    Much love to you both — Dan

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