Like a vision she ran across the back porch, as a portable speaker played another Springsteen song.
The previous evening, on the occasion of the "blood moon" in suburban New Jersey, I had been hoping for a night of magic -- filled with celestial signs and wonders. But instead of red weather, whenever the full moon peeked through the rain clouds, it was ordinary and decidedly white.
On this hot, humid Saturday in late July, I had decided to go for a swim.
I was splashing like a drunken sailor, listening to my favorite music without a care, when my wife ran to my side... and started to pull the automatic cleaner from the water. It had been mindlessly scouring the bottom of our pool.
"I heard the music," she said, "so I thought you'd be in here."
She tugged frantically at a cord to bring the device to the surface. Large orange stickers attached to the cord proclaimed these words in bold white lettering: "WARNING Do Not Enter Pool When Robotic Cleaner Is In The Water."
"Didn't you see this?" she asked.
"Oh, jeeze, I'm sorry," I said. "It's electric! I could have killed myself!"
"You're welcome," she said, a little shaken.
"Of course, thank you! You saved my life!" I said, adding, "Although... since you only came out here because you heard the music... technically, Bruce Springsteen saved my life. But thank you anyway. I mean it!"
"Don't mention it," Nancy said, now smiling. "I'll put it on your tab."
This tab is real; I'm an idiot.
Also years ago -- upset, with my head clouded after the worst fight I ever had with one of my then-teenaged daughters -- I decided to clean out the gutter over our front door. I retrieved the ladder from the garage, and set it up, a bit shaky, then started climbing.
When I nearly reached the top, I felt a tug from underneath.
I looked down and saw my daughter, holding the ladder steady.
She had seen me from the window of her bedroom, where we had just been arguing, and she ran down the stairs, concerned, when she saw me place the ladder against the side of the house.
We didn't say a word to each other. She just looked up at me with an expression of exasperation while I fished leaves from the gutter.
I have never felt more loved than at that moment.
Such is my charmed life in suburban New Jersey -- where I've learned, over the years, to show a little faith. There's magic even on ordinary nights.