The moon hid from me last night in a cloudless sky, and only a week from full, so we both knew it was there, peeking for a brief moment from behind the old oak in the neighbors yard. It wasn’t the first time the moon had done this, it will not be the last either, I am certain, but I do remember the time in 1970, the heat of San Antonio in mid-summer more oppressive than usual and only the old barracks for the moon to use as hiding place. Yet it hid, and that night I didn’t mind Lying in the base hospital, where the nurses ignored me for the seriously wounded, as they should reading the orders issued that day transferring me to the Reserves as my fellow air policemen in my training squadron were calling home, most in shock, to announce that their plan to avoid Vietnam by enlisting would soon be scattered on the tarmac of Da Nang Air Base.
It was lying there, on the ground, waiting to be noticed, unsure of why everyone walked by, some glancing, most lost in thought. It hadn’t been there long, but certainly long enough to be seen, of that it was certain, yet there it lay staring crimson at the sun overhead, and even the one passing cloud seemed to ignore it as it meandered by. It wanted to shout out, to demand attention, but it knew that wouldn’t change anything. And so it lay there, waiting, frustrated, until a sudden breeze lifted it up and a small child shouted to his mother, “Mommy, look at the pretty red leaf.”