Harry Potter moon

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 1:38pm

There is a point in the spring when I realize I am not obsessing over weather, hopping from site to site, pouring over the predictions of the cold that might come, the wind that might blow, and, especially, the combination of the two, the dreaded wind chill factor. There is nothing I can do about any of it, I do realize, nothing but wait for the cold and wind deepened by the moisture that hangs in the winter air.

Then comes a day when I realize I have not been popping over to the weather sites every 15 minutes whenever I am online, interrupting the important business of finding videos of pandas sneezing or golden retriever puppies doing just about anything, even sleeping. That moment spring has truly arrive, when it hits me I am not carefully monitoring the trend in the temperature and wind direction, watching every speck of color on the radar screen, worrying about impending doom.

Now, it is high summer and I am back there, looking for the site that will tell me it will be cooler, despite the lunatic raving of the radio casters, talking of a wave of heat, an ocean of heat, a river of molten lava rolling east across the country. One of the sites, my favorite, the one I chose to believe, tells me it will be significantly cooler than the others do, still summer warm, but cooler and even with chance of partial cloud cover at week’s end. Another, never my favorite, has a searing map of the country, blazing, bloody red poured over the middle, some crazy badge of honor.

As so often happens, on the NOAA map, the multi-colored legend has nothing to do with the speck of colorless land in the pale violet (small craft warnings) ocean south of Rhode Island. As often happens, I am left wondering if we are below the weather line — as is often the case — or if they merely ran out of time and/or interest and left us blank not so much by design as by lack of it.

The air is sticky, and when I push the windows further open I hear the foghorn. The lights of the harbor are obscured, hidden by the dense fog the NOAA map shows ending miles to the west of us.

I live here, I have always lived here, I know there is absolutely nothing that can be done about the weather, as I know planning around it is a fool’s errand. Still I fret over it, the seven to eight degree gap between the one I want to believe and the one that better reflects what I have been hearing on the radio. The truth will likely, as truth often does, fall somewhere in between.

There is no moon tonight, no great white moon, visible in the sky.

Here, as across the country, the last Harry Potter film opened as soon as it possibly could, a milisecond after midnight on the morning of the fifteenth of July. I saw the moon an hour before the show began, nearly round and wondered — briefly — if it was by design or coincidence that the last of this extraordinary franchise opened on the date of a stunning full moon.

Someday I will see the film, although I hate the thought of those children growing up, they are fictional, they should be forever young. The books I read by chance, the first three, all of moderate length, snared me. They were on sale for a dollar each on a cart outside the library. I sailed through them, and hit four, a tome that made me wonder how anyone stayed interested. There I left them, Harry and his friends and enemies, the line between the two still unclear.

Only when the last book was released did I again pick up that fourth volume, and soldier on, reading through to the end, even managing to wade though a library book in the allotted time, knowing the last was far from paperback. They were full of wonder and fancy and nonsense — even within the world of wizardry there was at times a decided lack of process and procedure.

Overall, though, they were a delight. But I long ago lost track of which was which, and have only a vague knowledge of how it all ends, apart from good triumphing over evil and Alan Rickman’s tortured character dying.

The opening of the last movie would be An Event, that much I did know, and while I had no interest in going to a show that would not end until after 2 am, there was an excitement in the air that had been building for days.

The — to us, and to mainland moviegoers accustomed to chopped up multiplexes — vast Empire does occasionally sell out all its tickets, when a new, much anticipated movie arrives. There are nights when there is a line of chattering, excited people down the street.

The line Thursday night started as soon as it could, soon after nine. An hour later there were no tickets left; at eleven I was surprised to see the plaza empty. Everyone was inside — or, ticket in hand, had gone off to do something else, or collect the group for whom they had been buying.

The theater was not full at eleven; all those sane people who were not going to sit for an hour after standing for an hour before a two-hour-plus movie were missing.

It has been a long run, this era of Harry Potter from the soaring popularity of the first book to the finality of the last movie. How the world has changed, I will leave for others to dissect. It was, though, stunning to see all those seats filled and hear the relative silence of a group of mostly younger people, poised to be a part of something that rarely happens, a long anticipated finale come to fruition.

The space was not buzzing with excitement — rather it was alit with little hand-held screens. I hope when they came out, hours later, they were not so busy texting friends, on the mainland or 10 feet away, that they missed the Harry Potter moon.