The moon is a loyal
It never leaves. It’s always
there, watching steadfast,
knowing us in our light and
dark moments, changing
forever, just as we do. Every
day it’s a different version of
itself. Sometimes weak and
wan, sometimes strong and
full of light. The moon
understands what it means
to be human.
Uncertain, Alone. Cratered
I intended to work until early afternoon on Sunday, but got caught up in one of those small crises that sometimes happen – not a big deal, but consuming a disproportionate amount of time. When I finally walked out the front door to head home, it was just after five o’clock p.m. I was weary; it had been a long and emotional week, with the presidential election and its concerning aftermath, coupled with long hours at work.
Back when I worked on a college campus, I developed a habit after long days like this – walk purposefully, with my head down, so I didn’t accidentally make eye contact with anyone who might have a question or concern. I’m not proud of it, but some days it was the only way I made it out of the work environment. Halfway across the parking lot on Sunday, I realized that I was doing this and laughed at myself. I lifted my head and noted that the only vehicle in the lot was mine – it was highly unlikely that anyone would by lying in wait to prevent my escape home!
The sky that greeted my eyes when I finally looked up from my feet was…spectacular. The range of colors was breathtaking, with striations of clouds colored pink, lavender and red. To my right, the setting sun was a giant ball of orange fire. To my left, the rising moon was a huge, full, perfectly round orb, glowing white.
I have a long history of taking comfort from the moon. It isn’t that I don’t love the sun – what’s not to love about that gorgeous star that makes life possible for us here on our blue-green marble? But I can’t identify with the sun, I’m way too introverted for that. I’m much more like the moon: reflective, changing, “cratered by imperfections.”
As the poem above asserts: the moon understands what it means to be human. Understands what it is to feel surrounded by darkness and often impenetrable space. Understands that sometimes it feels all you are capable of is reflection, shining someone/something else’s light back at the world. Understands that there are times when it appears to all, even ourselves, that our light has completely gone out.
And yet, the very next night, searching, we find the faintest sliver of light returning.
It is then we remember that the moon has powers and gifts not always visible to the eye (tides that ebb and flow, the stable tilt of our earth’s axis, the gift of workable metals). And we, imperfect though we are, have ours as well. We each have powers to wield staunchly, gifts to share unstintingly. Even those of us most cratered with imperfection are also capable of countenancing light.
Holding onto this thought, I take a hopeful step forward.
The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished. -Ming-Dao Deng