Saturday, June 7, 2014
that the moon is more significant than we may think
This reflection started when my husband, Andrew, was putting his song list together, for his one-man-band performance at Nursing Homes and Elderly care hostels. He aims to give them a whole hour of music from their past, and as he flipped through the pages, he said, "Back in the War era and '50s, people used to draw heavily on the moon as inspiration for their songs." He quoted a long spiel including Moon River, Fly Me to the Moon, How High the Moon, Moon Glow, Blue Moon and By the Light of the Silvery Moon.
I might have not have given it further thought, except that I drove off to the shop and turned on the car radio. It was in the middle of LeAnn Rimes', Can't fight the Moonlight. I made a mental note to tell Andrew that the fascination wasn't restricted to the war era. Then I started remembering other more modern songs from the later twentieth century which highlight it. Cat Stevens' Moon Shadow, Van Morrison's Moon Dance, and Credence Clearwater Revival's Bad Moon Rising.
Human kind have had a love affair with our satellite all through history, highlighting it in stories and folklore as well as music. It's an aid to romance, making a beautiful, shining focal point for young couples to gaze on. Even Shakespeare had Juliet tell Romeo, 'Swear not by the moon.' And we all know when vampires are said to come out to do their mischief. It's on full moon nights. Anything that has earned its place in both romance and horror stories alike, just by being itself, deserves respect.
There's no doubt that it serves a vital role in science too, as the magnetic pull of its gravity has a significant effect on our ocean tides, and hence, our climate patterns. And whether or not we realise it from day to day, each of our schedules is built around its waxing and waning, as the cycles of the moon are responsible for the months in our calendar.
I wasn't around back in July, 1969, for the moon landing, although I was just five months away from being born. My sister and brother remember everyone being allowed a half day off from school so they could watch it being televised. I can imagine what a significant historical moment it would have been, when something so lofty and unattainable was stepped on by human beings. How everyone must have thrilled to hear the words from the crew.
My younger son, aged 10, asked, 'Why hasn't anyone been back to visit the moon since then? That was ages ago.'
We were quick to tell him, 'It's because a whole lot of money would have to be poured into another expedition, and there's really no point, because we all know there's nothing much up there. Lots of dust and rocks, some craters, and an atmosphere so thin, you can't take a breath without special suits and breathing apparatus.'
That's an interesting thought. Not much up there, in spite of the allure humankind has always felt for it. As a person, have you ever felt insignificant? If people were like landscapes, we might consider ourselves to be dry and barren, like the moon. Have you ever said, 'I don't have much to offer?' Well imagine there really is a man living on the moon, not far from where the Apollo 11 Crew disembarked. Apart from that one flash of excitement in his otherwise ho-hum life, I can imagine him getting discontent and saying, 'Everything is just the same around here all the time. I wish I could have a change, get away somewhere where there's a fantastic view, be important for once.'
Back to the start of this reflection, little does he know how vital his place is for the functioning of life on earth, or the fascination with which earthlings have always regarded the moon, weaving it into their stories and songs. He's so far away from Earth, it doesn't register to him. He's missing the long-range view.
Maybe if we call our own lives dull and dry, we're missing the long-term, long-range view too, with which people far from the confines of Earth may be regarding us. I can't help thinking of how the Bible tells us we're each the subject of angels on assignment, that we're of vast importance to celestial beings, who cheer when we make sound, life-enhancing decisions, and can't contain themselves from popping up at certain times in history. It also tells us that each of us are deeply loved by God, who knew us completely when we were being knit together in our mothers' wombs and has every hair of our heads numbered. We may never find out in our lifetimes how important, and even fascinating, we may have been to others, just as the moon is to us.
We need to keep our chins up as we go about our daily lives, remembering that for all the apparent boredom of routine, we're like the moon. For all we know, songs may have been written about us, maybe even as we speak. We may be impacting the right people, either human or celestial, unbeknown to us, and we may even be scaring the unsavoury, bad influences away, just as we should be doing. I'm sure we won't know our individual impacts in this lifetime, and later we may well be very surprised.
Okay, when I mentioned the beginning of this blog post to Andrew, it inspired him to go searching for other moon songs. We didn't even mention the ones without the moon in their titles, but still featuring it in their lyrics. I find myself humming, "When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that's Amore."
Here is another reflection about journeys into space helping us find perspective.
And another one about being too close to realise the true significance of our lives.