The woman who lost the moon
The landscape contains a thousand dials which indicate the natural divisions of time; the shadows of a thousand styles point to the hour. The afternoon is now far advanced, and a fresh and leisurely wind is blowing on the river, causing long reaches of serene ripples... What a drama of light and shadow from morning to night! Soon as the sun is over the meridian, in deep ravines under the east side of the cliffs night forwardly plants her foot, and, as day retreats, steps into his trenches, till at length she sits in his citadel. For a long time she skulks behind the needles of the pine, before she dares draw out her forces into the plain. Sun, moon, wind, and stars are the allies of one side or the other. (Journal of Henry David Thoreau, August 18, 1841)
A serene photomontage to celebrate the upcoming eclipse. This image also reminds me of a cross-country train trip I took many years ago. After the train pulled out of Chicago one evening I was talking to another passenger - a middle-aged woman - and pointed out her window at the beautiful full moon, which was just rising. We oohed and aahed, and continued talking for a minute - then she turned back to the window and asked where the moon had gone. She became more and more agitated and I realized that she truly believed that somehow the moon had disappeared. I explained that the train was moving - it had changed direction and the view out her window had changed. She couldn’t understand how that was possible and kept insisting that something was very wrong. I repeated my explanation and although she calmed down, she still maintained that the moon had vanished. I gave up trying to explain and walked away, hoping that soon the train would shift direction again so that the moon would return to her.
Our planetary travels are going to give us an amazing opportunity to play hide and seek with the moon next week - here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy eclipse!
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