The moon has always been a flat disc, invariably waxing and waning through the illustrations in the story books of my youth. And, so as I grew up, that’s how I saw it — up in the sky, a mixture of bright light and silhouette, mysterious but unquestionably there.
I’m not sure when I became aware that the moon was a ball, in strange oscillation around our home planet. I think that that was from an early age too, when for me the solar system was first full of planets and lumps of rocks. But all I saw when I looked up as a child was the stars and a slice of the moon looking down on me in the night.
Suddenly, I remember when as a teenager it happened; the first time I looked at the moon and a voice in my head revealed in context, “that’s not a shape, that’s a volume!” And instantaneously, I became aware of the enormity of a massive orb encircling in the night sky. A thin slither of light highlighting a mostly dark, invisible globe, hiding in plain sight. The surprise of it still lives me with today, how something so old and familiar can suddenly become new and mysterious again.
Today as dusk threatens to break, I see my friend the moon again. This time it has a companion, a small bright star to keep it company; the only star in the sky. As a child I saw all points of light as stars, but this one is Jupiter; our humble moon and a majestic planet, owning the sky. Only now am I becoming aware that I have been looking at the planets all along, not all stars are stars, and what I thought was hidden was hidden in plain sight.
It is easy to get lost in the familiar and well known, the well heeled grooves of life. We take our relationship to the things in the world for granted, and over time they become comfortable and unchanging; we never think to question them or notice whether our ideas about them need updating. The same is true of our relationships with each other. Most individuals that we meet are pigeonholed into some category or other, after a very short time in their presence, and it is then subsequently very rare for a relationship to change dramatically, and for two individuals to get to know each other again as if for the first time.
I am reminded as I recall this childhood incident that it’s even possible for the most fundamental things, to become more than they were. That, quite literally, as sure that I am of what is real and what it means, I must hold open the possibility that at some level my working assumptions are wrong, and some deeper truth and understanding could be revealed to me.
As I find myself entering this new year, full of awareness that not so far beneath the surface of what I take for granted are relationships and inspirations staring me in the face but not previously seen, and I ponder on which of these will reveal themselves first.