Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Man In The Moon

In the wilds east of our high plains hamlet a drawn-out coyote howl rises into the starry night. A waxing gibbous moon with its spectacular hump-backed shape, clearly visible lunar seas, and surface areas pockmarked with craters lights up the prairie panorama. After an unassuming ascension in the eastern sky just after midday, the luminous nightlight inspires awe, poetry, and quests to understand its mysteries.

For a few moments I soak up its soothing glow and give in to childhood fantasies of the man in the moon. The Mare Serenitatis forms his head and Mare Tranquilitaris his torso. The lunar maria Nectaris and Fecunditatis shape his legs. With a small dog at his side and entertained by mankind’s never-ending follies, he is content to circle the Earth forever and a day.

Near the lower bay of the Sea of Tranquility are three indistinct craters named for the Apollo 11 astronauts Aldrin, Collins, and Armstrong. They touched down on the lunar surface the twentieth of July in 1969 during a five-day-old waxing crescent moon phase, which gave them the best shadow details for a landing. They had twenty seconds of fuel left. This is where Armstrong stepped off their landing craft, the Eagle, on July 21, 1969 and uttered the fabled words, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” In the hours ahead he and Aldrin became the first men to leave their footprints on the lunar surface.

Tonight’s gibbous moon against the star-filled canopy of night skies arouses memories of July 20, 1969. Once again I find myself with friends in a campground in Brindisi, Italy. While we wait for a morning ferry crossing to Greece, several British campers invite us to share the historic event over a small transistor radio. We stand awestruck and gaze at the crescent moon. Mankind’s most cherished treasures are our visions and dreams--the realm where soul and mind intersect, where we define our humanity.

© Ilija Lukić 2012

Man In The Moon - July 28, 2012

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