The stars were visible for the first time in several nights, and the thin sliver of the waxing moon appeared, behind a filigree of pine branches. Venus was there, too, hanging above the house with the dogwood trees. That house is occupied by an ancient couple who are no longer very active. Tonight their big front window reveals two glowing lamps and the flickering light of the TV screen. I have never been inside that house, but periodically my imagination lands me there. I have a brief flash of the room from the inside, and then I return to where I actually am. This sort of thing has been happening since I was six years old, that I remember.
The first time I recall was when we were passing a house that faced the cross street at the end of our block. It had one projecting room with an oddly shaped arched window -- as though a Roman arch had decided to turn Gothic, but never reached a proper Gothic point before giving up the project, so that it remained an elongated compound curve. I remember looking at that window and suddenly finding myself inside the room, then back in the car as we turned the corner, and I watched through the back car window as the house diminished. I don't remember being surprised at the event, so maybe I had had that experience before, and have simply now forgotten those earlier events. But there have been many occasions since when the same thing has happened.
The sense of actually being in another place while yet looking at it from the outside is quite vivid, and rather disconcerting. I remember once, while riding the bus, finding myself standing on an open second floor corridor of a motel on Brooklyn Avenue in Los Angeles. From there, I saw the bus on which I was riding move down the street, but I didn't see myself aboard it, looking out the window. Then I was back on the bus, looking up at the place I had just imagined myself standing, and I wasn't there, either. This all took place in a second or two. I think that this unexpected projection of my consciousness into another place is related to my ability to sometimes have brief dreams indistinguishable from those of REM sleep while I am yet awake, but in the process of going to sleep. I suppose my brain is just hooked up a bit oddly. In fact, I suspect that most people's brains are hooked up a bit oddly (the brain being as complex as it is) but that we don't all get the same oddness. This capacity for sudden displacement just happens to be the oddness I got -- or one of the oddnesses I got.
When I went out an hour or so after I saw the thin crescent moon, it was gone. Venus was still there, but the other stars didn't seem quite right. I realized that Orion was not there. I hadn't looked for him earlier, so I don't know if the time of year has arrived when he vanishes behind the trees before the sky is dark enough to see him. I'll have to check tomorrow night. I'm going to miss seeing him in the evening sky. I hope it isn't too late to say goodbye.