Have You Heard?

Excerpted from Thea's upcoming memoir: Returning as Clouds (artist of work above unknown)

Peachy used to read poetry to us girls in the cabin at night before bedtime from books like Leaves of Grass and Song of Myself, by Walt Whitman; The Poems of Emily Dickinson, and Psalms from the Bible. She instilled a lifelong love of poetry and her one summer of love stayed with me for a lifetime.

I turned fourteen that summer in July of ’69. Four days later men landed on the moon as all of us girls gathered lakeside for a “baby boat” ceremony. In the same year the Moody Blues released On the Threshold of a Dream. It was the beginning of my awakening.

The lake was calm and the moon was full on the night of the moon landing, its reflection glimmering on the still dark water. The timing may have been a coincidence, but as I gazed up searching for the man in the moon, like one searches for shapes in the clouds, I knew it was a historical moment and perceived that a barrier was being shattered for humanity. There would be less separating us now; less time and distance, but no less mystery.

Baby boats are magical when they are all afloat and are made from cut off milk cartons with each holding a small candle. The candle boat ceremony was inspired by a Japanese tradition of honoring the dead and was meant to illuminate a pathway for souls to find their way home. It held multiple meanings for us that night. The owners of that sacred land had lost a baby soon after she was born and so it was also an honoring of this soul. It was so beautiful to see all those lights illuminating the water. We are like that, souls that shine for a brief time and need a light by which to find our way home.

As I watched the baby boats converging at the center of the lake, gently nudged by a light breeze, a magical thing happened. My little light began to merge with all of those other little lights beneath a path of yellow moonlight. No longer feeling quite so lost or all alone I became aware that I was part of a much greater whole. Strains of the Moody Blues began to play in my head to the rhythm of the wind and gentle swaying of the boats, Have You Heard. Music, always my saving grace. I looked up in wonder and tried to imagine what the earth must look like from space. There was someone up there who loved me, and now I knew there would be a light to guide me home.

Now you know that you are real

Show your friends that you and me

Belong to the same world

Turned on to the same word

Have you heard?[1]

[1] “Have You Heard”, from Threshold of a Dream by the Moody Blues, released April 1969.


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