Werewolves, a full moon and two worn-out writers
December 4, 2012
I rose early on that Wednesday morning and headed out on the three hour drive to Waco, Texas, a way station on a trip to Austin.
When I hit Highway 31 in Tyler, I drove through the night, the road illumined by only a full moon. Occasionally on each side of the road in bare fields, cleared by souls who long ago rested in the cold earth, a shimmer of light glowed on frosted grass.
In the Trinity River bottom thirty miles or so from Corsicana, the faint light of day revealed a mist off the water that shrouded the highway, forming a canopy, a cocoon of mystery. When I passed through the fog, I again saw the moon through the trees as it sank ever lower in the west, its color not so bright, tinged with yellow, a sign that Earth could control even celestial objects.
I pulled to the side of the road and took a picture of the moon on my phone while other early travelers blew past me, unaware of or unconcerned with the beauty of the moment. When I got back in my car, I picked up my cell and called Caleb Pirtle. I knew he was approaching Waco from Dallas and thought the sky not lost on him.
“Are you seeing that moon?” I asked him.
“It’s to my right. It’s turning yellow.”
“People who say authors shouldn’t write about the weather must never have seen a moon like that one.”
“When I worked the cop beat years ago, the police said they could look at the calendar and tell when something bad would happen,” Caleb said. “If it was too hot, too cold or if the moon was full, people had better watch out.”
“I guess there is a good reason why people who write about werewolves and zombies set their stories under a full moon,” I said.
I ended the call and drove further west and south.
By this time, the sun had popped up behind me, and for a few minutes I could see the fullness of the moon and the fresh brightness of the sun, one ahead of me, the other behind.
I drove past bare cotton fields, the year’s crop now forgotten, the soil tilled and waiting for the next planting. Soon I came to the outskirts of a small hamlet.
I saw movement to my right. At first, I thought it two deer crossing the road. Motorists in that part of the country often see them as they make their way to a watering hole. But as I drew closer, I realized these creatures were not fawns, does or bucks.
When I was a hundred yards or so from them, they trotted across the road from north to south, one leading, one loping along the path the other charted.
It was then that I recognized the creatures, two wolves. These were not the coyotes who frequent Central Texas, a small dog cousin scary and fretful. No, these were wolves, animals that stood almost as tall as a Great Dane.
I started to call Caleb back, but decided he would have just chalked it up as an hallucination one old worn-out writer would pawn off on another.
I watched the wolves disappear into a thicket just about the time the moon dropped out of sight.
And I wondered if what I had seen was the real world or a brief intersection of two dimensions pried open for just a moment under a full moon.