To take a slight detour from the recent post on internet and software security, I thought I’d try writing about something, well, iconic.
It isn’t just another moon … the “fifth largest in the Solar System” … like “astronomers” would have you believe. It is The Moon. Our Moon.
Poets and sailors have a better handle on the significance of the “fifth largest moon”.
The Moon is iconic because it is one of a kind. Unique. Irreplaceable.
Being unique and irreplaceable is one thing. Actually, it is two things. But the Moon has more. She … “He” in the Elvish … only ever shows us the same face … now more, now less, but always the same face … always the same, never constant.
“Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
— Mark Twain
How could we even ask for a better satellite to rule our night? Enough light to see by … but not enough to discern color. Even when full.
Eclipsed by the Earth, reddish glows.
The same orb the Sun does interpose,
casting darkness where once was light,
but only rare and short the flight.
Even illusions are credited her. The rising Moon always seems large enough to swallow the Earth … why especially the Harvest Moon? Because it is harvest – a time of plenty – soon to be followed by the night of Winter, dark and cold.
Poetry aside, who can deny the ineluctable tide? The ebb and flow of the tide dictate – and especially used to dictate – when a vessel might sail. Or when it might just lie around on the beach waiting for that “rising tide that lifts all boats”.
Cnut (Canute) the Dane who ruled England 1016 – 1035 is supposed to have commanded the tide to stop, but the truth is more interesting. From the article in wikipaedia:
Henry of Huntingdon, the 12th-century chronicler, tells how Cnut set his throne by the sea shore and commanded the tide to halt and not wet his feet and robes. Yet “continuing to rise as usual [the tide] dashed over his feet and legs without respect to his royal person. Then the king leapt backwards, saying: ‘Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.’ He then hung his gold crown on a crucifix, and never wore it again “to the honour of God the almighty King”.
What is your favorite image of the Moon? Paint a word picture. Here is mine:
An autumn moonrise above a foggy ground with silhouettes of lofty pines behind.