“Are you thinking with me / Of the moon at the mountain’s edge?”- Izumi Shikibu (Japanese poet)

Reiji Hiaramtsu_Japanese painter

©Reiji Hiramatsu (Japanese Nihonga painter)


Someone posted this beautiful painting on Twitter the other day, and it reminded me of this post I had begun writing a few weeks ago.


Recently, I found myself driving through Chicago. The sun had just begun to set and the sky darkened into the darkest blue I could imagine.

The color of the sky reminded me of the shade “midnight blue” which was in my big Crayola crayon box when I was a child. It was one of my favorite colors in that box. I would save that crayon and use it sparingly, for special pictures. Not every picture was worthy of “midnight blue”.

After the sunset, still inching along slowly in rush hour traffic, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw dozens and dozens of headlights behind me. I saw dozens and dozens of red tail lights in front of me. All machines, moving machines, driven by strangers, unknown people, each of us on the same highway heading somewhere, each with our own unique destinations.

Looming large on the horizon, a full, glowing, beautiful yellow-orange moon began its ascent in sharp contrast to the inky sky. Occasionally, silken thread clouds would waft over the moon, and every few minutes the scene would shift.

I was awed by the contrast of moving machines under a watchful moon. I wanted to stare at the moon and that gorgeous scene, but I had to keep my focus on the road while driving in the midst of hectic rush hour traffic in a large city. Eventually, the moon was swallowed completely in clouds and no longer visible.


Time alone in a car is a healing and restful time for me. Usually, I end up thinking of all that is broken and wrong and even talk aloud. You’d probably think I was talking to myself. Well, yes, that would be true. Sometimes, I’m talking to God, having an honest conversation (which usually means I’m the one doing the talking, ha). Other times, I am scanning radio stations trying to find something to sing along to or just enjoy listening to.

I made it to my destination about 30 minutes before some heavy rain, otherwise, I would have been carrying my suitcase and other belongings and would have gotten soaked in the rain. I was not able to sleep after a longish drive in the traffic and I stayed awake until the wee hours of the morning and I began writing this post.

There was a wall hanging that read “Be still my soul” in that place, like the old hymn. It was a  peaceful evening, with the rain pattering, and the quiet hum of the place I was visiting.


“Midnight Blue” is still a color in the big box of crayons (I checked their website to make sure). My own children are too old now for crayons, but I still have a plastic bin of well-used, well-loved, worn out crayons with tattered labels. I can’t bring myself to get rid of them. Why? They’re just a box of broken crayon pieces, after all.

One reason I hold onto them is in case someone visits with young children, I’ll have them handy for a younger child. Also, perhaps I am still processing how quickly my kids are growing and how many relics of childhood are no longer needed, no longer used, left behind, and forgotten.

Or, maybe it is because though these are broken objects, they still have color, still have life, and still serve a purpose even in their broken, tattered state.

Like so many of us.

Like me. And maybe you, too.