Raising the Moon
Georgia was entirely uninterested in listening to what her mother had to say, but dusk was already falling so there wasn't much else she could do. The light leaked out from behind the hills and cast shadows over the trees. In the distance, an owl hooted. A few crickets chirped. Georgia wanted to run back to the blackberry bush she'd found earlier that afternoon and stuff her face with the sweet berries.
But her mother said, "All right. It is time."
Her mother lifted her arm in a clatter of silver bracelets, the blue and purple shawl flinging back from her shoulders. Her mother then closed her eyes and pointed a finger at the horizon. A moment later, the milky moon lifted above the hills.
"See? Nothing to it."
Georgia shrugged. "Great. Nothing to it. Can I go now?"
Her mother laughed. "I think you know the answer to that. Here, you try for a little bit."
Georgia paled. "What?"
Her mother glanced away from her raised finger to smile at her daughter. "You've been practicing on the stars, haven't you? Why don't you take the moon for an hour or so?"
Georgia bit her lip. "But...but... I'm not ready, Mom."
The moon rose steadily through the darkness, it's waxing gibbous form steady and clear.
"Mom, you know I don't like the feel of the moon," Georgia said. She took a tentative step back. "It's cold and hard and it doesn't listen to me the way it listens to you."
Her mother shrugged. "Is that so? I guess we can find out."
And then she dropped her finger.
Georgia squealed and raised her hand so sharply that the moon jerked in the sky. There came a rumble from the sea beyond the hills, frustrated by the violent shift in its tides.
Once she'd gotten the moon steady, Georgia turned on her mother. "How could you do that? You know I can't hold the moon up."
"Maybe not all night, but for a few hours? I think you can do it."
Then, her mother turned and walked away.
"But Mom! Mom!" In Georgia's panic, she accidentally shifted the moon through a whole cycle. When she turned back, the silver sphere was filling up and emptying again until Georgia got her hands steady.
She stood like that for a long time, listening to night birds coo and squirrels and chipmunks rustle in the branches beside her. Slowly, slowly, she lifted the moon over the sky. It still felt cold and hard, but she'd never held the moon without her mother there to guide her. Georgia felt her muscles shift and reflex as she lifted the moon.
"See? You're not doing so bad."
Georgia jumped at the sound of her mother's voice and the moon shifted cycles again.
"Mom, you can't just sneak up on someone like that."
Her mother laughed. "You've been doin g a great job. Now, why don't you run off into the forest like I know you wanted to?"
Georgia smiled. "No, that's ok. I'm ok holding the moon a little longer."