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Talking to the Moon
I’d love to say it was my determination to view a natural wonder that had me up at 4.30 am on a recent Saturday morning …. It wasn’t. A large mug of tea before bed and it’s inevitable consequence was the stimulus, but throwing on the trusty dressing gown I stumbled out with Milly one of my Jack Russell’s at my feet (her brother stayed happily curled up on my bed either too deeply asleep to register we were up or else awake but not owning up to it ….. no one in our house, man or beast, arises at such an hour …..).
It took a bit of negotiating in my sister’s well-tree’d backyard to actually see where the Moon was. Finally I found the right angle to see a rather low hung Moon starting to blush a little as the eclipse took effect. I was near my sister’s back shed with her neighbour’s side fence framing the action.
A possum padded across the fence stopping to stare at me for a moment in a rather affronted manner before leaping onto the shed with a noise like a dropped sack of spuds.
Possums are large where we live – possibly to do with the fact that my sister feeds them apples each night to keep them away from fruit trees and roses. (It works a treat and in summer they just plod along the fence past the peaches and plums to collect their cut fruit – a possum kinder tea).
It may be ecologically naughty to do this but we’ve moved into their domain and it seems a bit rich that people are infuriated when they eat shoots and buds and carefully tended fruit; Of course they will unless something else is on the menu.
Anyway back to the moon.
As we stood there (the dog wondering what the hell my catatonic state – in flannelette and furry slippers was all about).
At times I did too as the action was so slow I wondered if I’d caught the tail end rather than the beginning.
But gradually the moon started to glow orangey – red. The cloudless deep navy blue sky helped and Alpha Centauri our closest star shone with amazing brilliance a seeming stone’s throw away but probably millions of light years.
Now an eclipse can take a long time to view in the dark alone, save for a loyal small dog and the blanket of sleeping suburbia around you.
That pre-dawn time is so still. A stealthy rustle in the trees was probably another possum …… ponderously joining its mate for a late apple feast. I shivered clutching my dressing gown and holding it tighter around my neck.
……. I could go inside and make a cuppa – what if I missed something – I’ll stay a little longer.
Unable to stand the privation of another 5 minutes with nature in a fasting state, the kettle was boiled and Milly and I shared a buttered crumpet before heading out again. (We are definitely 5 star nature lovers, my dog and I ….).
Strewth! Nothing much had happened. It was still dark; the Moon was getting a little redder and all around was hushed and silent.
It seemed to me that I was the only one in the world standing looking at this strange sight. No one else to turn to and chat with to confirm what was going on – to laugh with and joke that the Moon looked like Donald Trump’s head – only his was more orange.
I stood there wondering what it was like in ancient days when meteorology, cosmology and astronomy did not exist and the heavenly bodies and their presentations were expressions of the mood state of the Gods; angry, beneficent, punitive or indulgent. How else could those of old explain thunder, lightning, eclipses, droughts, floods, earthquakes, shooting stars, auroras?
Science has boiled these down to natural phenomena. All perfectly rational and predictable.
But the Moon is lustrous, pearl-like and mystical. A back drop for romance and intrigue over the ages, lauded by artists, sung praises to by poets and set to beautiful and lyrical music. It has also been held responsible for loss of mental equilibrium. Lunar i.e. “Moon” denotes lunatic and lunacy. Casualty departments and psychiatric wards swear they are busier and police officers that their nights are more hectic during full moon. Some of this has been substantiated (albeit only minimally) by discovery of electromagnetic changes in the atmosphere at times of full Moon and the possibility that this could affect our brains delicate circuitry.
To know something logically but to experience the reverse in reality is quite odd. Milly had long given up and gone back to bed and as I stood there looking at the Moon an utter stillness pervaded. I felt like I was in an altered state not a light was visible, not a sound. I was suspended in black velvet.
The more I stared the more it seemed that the world was reduced to just me and the sky.
But here’s the thing ….. I knew this was complete and utter bunkum and that thousands if not hundreds of thousands were also peering into the sky, that telescopes and camera’s and technology of the highest order was being trained on this event all around Australia.
I knew it all too well but sensed it not one jot, and in that moment I wondered if the split in comprehension between the “experienced” and the “real” is a little like what dementia sufferers endure as they strive to make sense of a life where they are looking at an orange Moon that no one else ever sees let alone can discuss with them.
I hope I never know.
Bless one and all.