I have to work the next day so I’m driving all the way about five hours worth of driving all the way from Saratoga to home in western New Jersey and the whole way I’m guzzling bad rest-stop coffee and listening to Dylan CDs and counting the miles (New York City/100 miles!/Hooray!) and trying to keep my eyes open and watching the moonlight shining down over the Catskills and the moonlight gets my attention and I find myself thinking about all things moon-related like the word lunacy and the Rolling Stones song Moonlight Mile and the Wolfman movie that opens with that open book and the gothic writing that says something like “Even the man who is pure of heart/and says his prayers by night/may turn to a wolf when the wolfbane blooms/and the moon is full and bright.” And I’m thinking about songs that mention the moon like Paul Simon’s “Song About the Moon” and “Man in the Moon” and “Moonlight Serenade” and “Moonshadow” and “Moonshiner” and “Bad Moon Rising” and “Harvest Moon” and the song with the line line about carrying moonbeams in a jar and what are perhaps the two greatest moon songs ever — “Blue Moon” and “Moon River.” And I’m wishing I had the “Self-Portrait” CD with Dylan crooning “Blue Moon” and I’m thinking about my late father’s album collection from the mid-1960s and the albums he played over and over again on his h-fi and they included the movie soundtrack from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” and “People” by a young singer named Barbra Streisand and “Songs I Sing on the Jackie Gleason Show” by Frank “Crazy Guggenheim” Fontaine and “Moon River” in versions both by Mantovani and His Orchestra and by Andy Williams and a shaft of moonlight shining through the trees illuminates a deer as it grazes right along the New York State Thruway just as I see the exit sign for the Rip van Winkle Bridge across the Hudson and then of course I realized the highway and I were running parallel to the great Hudson River and I thought about how someone who had read the manuscript of my novel HALF MOON had asked me why I’d called it that and I said it began with the arrival of Hendrick Hudson’s ship Half Moon off the shores of my old hometown of Yonkers and that it ended with the narrator’s father and mother falling in love again and dancing high above the hills of Yonkers to the tune of “Moon River” beneath the light of a half-moon but that I couldn’t really answer the question but now as I drove down the Thruway after leaving Saratoga and actually passing through a neighboring town that’s actually called Half Moon, now I realized that a half-moon is halfway between nothing and everything, between the beginning and the end, between the neverending beginning and the neverending end, that the half-moon is the rising and falling and waxing and waning and the up and down and the dark side and bright side and so as the half-moon lit the way ahead I drove clear the rest of the way almost to New York the great and final city of America and wouldn’t you know that I began to hear the Symphony Sid show on the radio with all the latest bop as I crossed the border and pressed my foot to the pedal as the first faint glow of morning seeped up from the east and I accelerated westward toward home.


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