Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Moon Phases

My baby brother, David, named the moon "Johnny" some thirty years ago or so.  Just so you know.  His name's Johnny.  John, if you want to be more formal.  He's waning now, anyway.  (Johnny, not my brother.)  Gibbous.   

We'll see 75% of John tonight -- so, say approximately from the middle of his left eye, down to his right ear.  And half turned away from us, he'll still be luminously beautiful.  A pleasant light to frolic under in any circumstances. But this past Wednesday, on the night of the Harvest Moon, there was more than usual light to play with.  I wonder if Mr. John, our Man in the Moon, laughed out loud at the children's antics, or if he was smiling tolerantly?

See what you think.  To the poetic stylings of the great Robert Frost...

                                      The Freedom of the Moon
I've tried the new moon tilted in the air


Above a hazy

                     tree-and-farmhouse cluster

As you might try a jewel in your hair.


I've tried it fine 

                    with little breadth of  luster,


             or in one ornament combining

With one first-water start

almost shining.

I put it shining anywhere I please.


By walking slowly on some evening later,

I've pulled it from a crate of crooked trees,


And brought it over glossy water,


And dropped it in,

 and seen the image wallow,

(Dominic again)

The colors run, 

and all sorts of wonder follow.


Der Mann im Mond 
(The Man in the Moon)

Here is a German legend -- actually a cautionary tale --  about the Man in the Moon.  Don't you think it's interesting that, at least in this telling, the Germans seem to discern the image on the moon to be a man bearing a bundle of wood, instead of just a smiling face?  I think their eyes are better than ours, perhaps, or their imaginations tend more to the practical!

The story goes like this... 

More than a thousand years ago, on a Sunday morning in the early fall, an old German woodman told his wife, Gretchen, that he was going after wood for the fire. She begged him not to go, for it was Sunday and they did not need the wood. The old man only laughed at her, and trudged away into the forest where no one could see him.

He cut a good bundle of wood, piled them together, tied them with a stout band, and throwing them over his shoulder, started homeward. Then he noticed that the wild creatures, that had never stirred as he entered the woods before, were now afraid of him. The birds fluttered away with a whirring noise, and an old mother hare, which he knew very well, made wonderful leaps to get herself and family out of his sight. Even a bear ran from him, instead of attacking him.

Soon he met a stranger with a sad, stern face, who stopped him.

"Don't you know that this is Sunday on earth, when all must rest from work?"

"Whether it is Sunday on earth or Monday in heaven, it is all the same to me," laughed the old man.

"Then carry your bundle forever, and as you do not care for Sunday on earth, you shall have a long Monday in heaven, where you shall be a warning to all Sabbath-breakers evermore."

Then the old man found himself swiftly rising in the air. Quick as a thought he was landed in the moon, where his wife saw him as she stood outside her door that night to watch for his coming. There he still stands bearing his bundle of wood, and as all days are Mondays in the moon, he can never Break Sunday Again.
The Man In The Moon - A German Legend

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