The backyard glows a soft white; crisp shadows lean in from an unfamiliar direction. Every bush, every flower, every tree shines.

The first time I remember noticing moonlight, I think I was about four. I woke in the middle of the night and crept to the bathroom. Well, I probably didn’t creep; four-year-olds aren’t the best at creeping. I probably ran into three walls, slammed a couple of doors, woke my parents up, and tripped over a dog or two. Memories sometimes trick us like this, so I all I remember is the silence.

As I sneaked through the hallway, a sparkle from the living room caught my eye. I expected darkness, but a bright blue-white light flooded through the windows and came to rest in long patches on the worn carpet. My mom’s crystal ashtray captured the moonbeams and held them hostage, releasing tiny focused twinkles while casting a dark shadow where the rainbows should have been.

Every object in the room glowed in the blue light. Bright and dark, gentle and strong. My eyes wide and sensitive, the contrast felt sharper than sunlight on the brightest day.

But most striking was the peace. In the stillness of the room, I felt the moment stop. The beauty of a simple room, in a simple house, seen in a new light.

This image returns to me from time to time. The same snapshot in my memory, the same angle, the crisp line between light and shadow stretching across the living room carpet. It’s an image of peace. From before.

So this morning, stumbling into the kitchen to make coffee, the moonlight splayed across the deck captured me again. It carried me back to crouch beside that vulnerable four-year-old me and for a moment let her peace wash over me the same way the moonlight washed across the living room floor.

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