Mangata; the trail of light left by the moon’s reflection on the sea, ‘the moon road’.
I sat still in the small rowing boat, the sea waves gently bobbing around me. In the distance, I could hear more waves lazily brushing along the shoreline but there were no other sounds. The full moon rose high in an ink black sky, a billion stars surrounding her like people bowing to a Queen.
Looking at my luminous watch, the hands told me it was almost midnight. My breath caught in my throat and I reached for the largest of jars I had brought with me. The oars brushed against my legs as I moved, transferring some of their cold, wetness to my over the knee black socks. They were already damp with the spray off the wave tops.
Careful not to rock the boat, I unlocked the lid and popped it open. Then I looked down into the dark sea. A white shinning line lay across the water, the reflection of the moon, gently moving up and down as it rode along the wave tops. I lowered the large jar, feeling my hands and arms shake slightly under the weight.
Calm, calm! I told myself. My tongue stuck out and pressed to the corner of my mouth as I concentrated. The jar lip tickled the white shinny line. I held still as a statue, holding my breath and not blinking. I heard my heartbeat echoing then I lowered the jar an inch more, breaking the line.
The moon’s reflection trickled into the jar. I held on tightly, the extra weight making my arms ache. The jar began to glow a dim white light. I cast a glance up at the moon, it was hard to till if it looked dimmer or not. Fixing my eyes back on the jar, I waited painstakingly for it to fill. The sea licked at my hands like a happy puppy, making my skin wet and cold. My fingers started to slip on the jar, I clutched it tighter as if my life depended on it.
It had taken all year to reach this point. The conditions for collecting The Moon Reflection Essence had to be just right! The sea had to be almost flat, clear and still whilst the sky had to be empty of clouds, the moon full, the stars bright. The day before had to have been clear and sunny too, so that the maximum of sunlight could be reflected upon the moon. Also, it had to be at midnight, when everything was at it’s highest and the most magically hour had started.
Finally, the line of moonlight in the jar and sea met and I eased the jar back up. Struggling, I grunted and almost dropped it but then I heaved the jar over the side of the boat. I almost fell but recovered fast, the boat rocked wildly then stilled again. I shoved the jar between my knees and jammed the lid on. Then locked the clip, sealing The Moon Reflection Essence inside.
Breathing deeply, I looked up at the moon then at the line of shinny light upon the sea. The moon and line looked dimmer now. Breathing deeply, I wrapped a red velvet cloth around the jar and placed it carefully into my hiking bag, which I had placed a cushion at the bottom and put in a thick blanket. Every precaution was needed right now.
I dried my hands on the edge of my black cloak then reached for an empty smaller jar. Might as well make the most of this trip. I opened the smaller jar and looked down into the sea again. I waited in between the low waves, fixing my eyes on a pinprick of white then dipped the jar in.
The wave bobbed the boat, had I missed? I closed the lid as I withdrew the jar and brought it up to my face. Inside I saw a tiny dot of light; Star Reflection Essence. Smiling, I looked for another one and got ready to try and collected it. I lowered the jar once more, waited then dipped and raised the jar up again. A second white dot had joined the first.
Feeling more relaxed, I collected a few more stars; ten in total before closing that jar. I checked my watch and saw it was half past midnight. It was almost time to leave. Making sure the Star Reflection Essence jar was secure in my hiking bag, I put on top the others I had already filled with different things. Lastly, went the three jars I had not filled. They were spares, as it was always important to be over prepared.
I took a few sips of water from my bottle then tucked that into a side pocked of the hiking bag. I slide down side ways on the boat’s little bench, rested my arms gently on the boat’s side then placed my head on top. I sighed with tiredness and watched the sea gently bouncing the reflection of the moon and stars slowly. A yaw escaped me and lulled by the bobbing boat and quiet echos of the waves, I felt sleep at the edge of my eyes and mind.
To Be Continued…