I knew time was running out for my bottle of special-occasion champagne as soon as I got the invitation to go sailing on the Bella Vita. It would be the night of a supermoon! Little did I realize that my boat mates and I would reenact a pivotal scene in my novel, Church of the God Particle.


Photo by Donna Jordan

On the day when the full moon was also at its closest point to Earth, I iced the champagne and headed to the marina with my cooler. After an exhilarating swim with my hosts, Gil and Donna, plus three new friends, we unfurled the sails at the mouth of the marina and headed into Lake Travis. Gil tacked along the shore in the waning afternoon until we sailed beneath an Austin landmark, the Oasis restaurant. Its multilayer deck system, rebuilt several years ago after a conflagration from a lightning strike, sprawled across the top of the cliff above us. I imagined its diners looking down at us, secure that the structure wouldn’t slip over the cliff.

“We are in a scene out of my novel,” I told my sailing mates as we retrieved delicacies from coolers and laid them out on a small table in the center of the boat. “The scene,” I continued, “is of two characters engaged in a pivotal conversation on one of those cliff-top decks while they look down at sailboats like this one.”

Here’s a snippet from the book:

The water scape of Lake Travis opened three hundred feet below them, shining like blue chrome all the way to the opposite shoreline two miles away. From the cliff-top patio Alex and Quizzy gazed upon the vast, placid expanse. It extended outward, scratched and speckled white by the tiny wakes of minuscule power boats and triangular sails.

Cascading down the cliff from the main patio like wooden waterfalls, the multiple decks of the Oasis supported hundreds of tables impaled by sun umbrellas, their canopies sprouting like colored canvas mushrooms. Patrons faced west as the sun burned into the horizon on the other side of the lake. Alex and Quizzy followed the hostess down several flights of stairs to their table. Alex sat next to the deck’s railing, and Quizzy sat as far away from it as possible. She ordered a margarita, and he a beer. They marveled at the fiery, painted sky.

From our vantage point on the Bella Vita, the supermoon began its ascent directly over the Oasis, now sprouting lights like a Bourbon Street hotel on Fat Tuesday. Mesmerized, we watched the moon rise above the restaurant. Its brilliance poured over the outdoor decks, cascaded down the cliffs, and electrified the wave caps.


Photo by Terri McCarley

When the lake air cooled and the champagne was only a memory, Gil turned the boat toward the marina and we followed the curving silhouette of the back-lit shoreline, listening to the waves lap the hull. The motion of the boat, the sound of the water, and the glowing red depth gauge on the bulkhead quieted my mind. I imagined myself in another sailboat, clipping along a dark Mediterranean shoreline a thousand years ago, anxious to see the lights of my seaside village.

My imaginary excursion faded away when we rounded a rocky point, and a cove opened before us revealing the lights of our marina. I looked at each of my friends, trying to read their faces, wondering what little journeys they had just taken on the night of supermoon.

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