|A painting I did two years ago, 'Enchanted|
Moon', ink and watercolor.
Maybe someday we'll be traveling to the Moon the way Ryan and I take planes back east. A simple trip, a search through security, free diet cokes, all the peanuts you can eat. And we'll look out into the sky from the Moon and see the Earth, the distant place we need to return to in days or weeks time.
The Moon is the one Earth held land (literally held, not by bedrock or rolling sea, but tied to our spiraling side with gravity) that we've yet to pollute or build a McDonald's on. Besides a stiff American flag and a few dusty footprints it's the same vast landscape as it was in the 1800's, 1500's, 400 B.C. No foundations breaking into the crumbling soil, no burnt stones where once a hearth glowed. Just rock after rock, crater upon crater, for miles and miles of silent, pearly dust prairies. The lunar planes.
|It doesn't get more vintage than the Moon.|
That would mean with the exception of that flag and those footprints, the Moon we see is the same Moon Jules Verne thought upon, pausing between sentences, searching for the next right word to craft the future. Marie Antoinette celebrated it during parties and glimpsed it from a jail cell. Galileo studied the very Moon the Mayans took into account when they made their calendar. When Leonardo Da Vinci solved the riddle of moonshine, he solved it for folks who had walked by moonlight in the Dark Ages, the Roman Empire, and the time of the pyramids. Mary and Joseph made their way to Bethlehem under the watchful gaze of the same craters and volcanic formations their child and all children see as the Man in the Moon. Think of a person you admire in history, and they saw the Moon exactly as you see it. (Okay, not Helen Keller, but I imagine the Moon held a dreamy fascination for her too, whether or not she could physically look upon it).
|Even in fiction: Elliot and ET flew by the same Moon|
Odysseus journeyed beneath for years.
What will the Moon look like in one hundred years now that we have made contact? In a thousand? Are we not only the first to cross its border but also the last generations to view the same Moon our ancestors have enjoyed before us? Are we going to smooth roads for dune buggies? How long after can we keep Walmart from breaking ground? People will need matching hand towels and Tang after all. Will we one day indeed catch space flights to the Moon? I think it's inevitable. If Star Trek communicators and cell phones have taught us anything its that once man sees it in painting, print, or film--he wants it real. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells didn't predict as much as they inspired.
However if we'd been there last night, we would have missed the view. Last night the best place in the world was in each of our own backyards, or in our beds gazing up through the windows. Seeing that big, bright, beautiful beacon in the sky drawing the eyes and imaginations up since the first man searched for something comforting in the dark.
|A lovely seaside photograph of last night's Moon |
captured by my friend, photographer Jed Thompson.