I walked outside this evening and the moon greeted me. Rising from the east, not quite cresting the cedar trees on the horizon, almost full. The shadows of its distant terrain were quite clear, the brightness shining even while the sun had not yet fallen on the opposite side of the world.

I stared at the white orb, feeling peace, saying a prayer, not to it of course, but to its maker, the one who decorates the world like we decorate a tree at Christmas.

The moon rising is a beautiful sight, made more beautiful by the rising wind from the south, blowing through the trees, blowing cold on what should be a warm summer day, but never was.

Those of this era are afraid of the lofty heights. I’ve realized that fact again. Statements which prior generations made with utter sincerity are charged with artificiality today, or worse. The terrible quality is that those who disdain the heights, disdain those who seek them, and rather than raising up, these people seek to lower the world around them, so that the goals are met by lowering the standards, removing the standards.

Movies are a great revelation of this, the cultural commentators gushing the most over the gritty, the harsh, which are nothing more than high society versions of Jerry Springer, making a person feel better because they are not as bad off as some.

They call it real life.

I realize I’ve lost sight of true reality, a reality which resides in those heights, in those stirring words which may only reflect what we wish ourselves to be, but are still more valid than what we wallow in when we are at our worst.

Only by reaching out, will I find the light I seek, the hope, taking flight to where none have tread before me, finding a voice, finding life.

Which is maybe why re-reading Paradise Lost has such an appeal, a book which is far beyond the capabilities of any contemporary writer, on a topic of such lofty heights that one is drawn into the reverie, even when treating of the foundations of evil.

To gain the heights. That is the goal, the dream, the task, the call.

Despite what others say, no matter the mocking from those who cannot see out of their own deep ditch.

The person who does this, who forsakes the ties that bind, becomes the apex of the rising triangle, which is the progression of human thought and expression. Nowadays, I fear this triangle has been upended, the geniuses lost, while we celebrate the masters of old, and highlight our own forays into prevalent mediocrity.

I watch the moon rising in the east, listen and feel the wind blow up and over and through me, bringing a chill on a summer evening. Prayers rise to my lips, hopes and dreams which are soot stained again expose themselves.

And yet, there is still only faith. There is only the trust that what I do is what God asks of me. It is a perilous choice. Life awaits, if I press on. Only emptiness if I don’t.

The emptiness has a louder call at times, and it pulls on my soul.