Sunlight’s Ghost

Just now letting the dogs back in, almost eleven thirty, I went a few steps out on the back porch (in my underwear, I confess) to see the full moon’s light. I put my hand out, and got moonlight on my hand. It is a never ending source of wonder to me how the light from the moon is a reflection of the sun’s light–or rather, it has sifted sunlight, altered it, and sent it on its way. Besides having a different quality of shine, this pallid sheen is changed by its momentary visit to the surface of the moon. This silvery-white light on my hand has literally *been upon the surface of the moon* only moments ago. It looks like the sunlight died on the lifeless gray surface and this moonlight is its ghost… Of course sunlight is at least as marvelous, has been generated by an explosive and gigantically potent fusion process within the star at the center of our solar system, but there’s something mysterious about moonlight.

I wonder how much the light of the moon is affected by light from the Earth–is it a mix of light rebounding from the sun and from the Earth as well? Is there a faint touch of the light from our cities, reflected back here on my hand? Does our own light reach the moon and come back to us, altered by the bleakness of that stark, lifeless face?

You see the effect it has on me? My writing, at least in this short piece, has acquired bleary, pompous echoes of 19th century romance poets! My writing style, in this moment, is affected by the moonlight–another reflection, another alteration from the mysterious moon.

And the moon has a face carved upon it–the Man in the Moon–which some of us seem to see quite easily. I see it, clearly. Its features are proportional, one to the next, and detailed, and human; a face that just happens to be an average visage of one of the dominant species on the planet it circles.

I suppose I should look away from it, and go to bed.

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