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Random thoughts, settings, characters, situations, perhaps leading somewhere

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Lunar Imposition

Monday 18 March 2013 - Filed under Squibs

Imagine an evening, freshening breeze and deepening shades. Out in the neighborhood, watching the stars flicker between the early-budded twigs. Nearing the horizon, a growing crescent of Moon swings midway two bracketing stars, the crook just a little lower than the intervening line, as if the weight of the satellite was straining a net between. It’s closer to one star (perhaps Regulus? Aldebaran? No — it’s Jupiter in fact), and the eye, running from lunar surface to planetary dot, finds it can repeat three more crescents in that dark space. Four moons? One moon = one half degree, thus there are two degrees of separation there.

And this is interesting, because that’s the size of the Earth seen from the Moon, a blue-white-and-tan gibbous Earth extending fatly between that same distance, an instant comparison easy for the imagination to make, inflating the Moon four times its size and about that much brighter. The Moon is in actuality a dull, grey lump–it’s hard to tell when it’s the only thing glowing in the sky, but it’s the color of asphalt and the Earth is many times more brilliant.

And what more interesting step to take in the imagination that to see that Earthshine extending to the horizon, a serrated horizon of faint uncompromising jags against the stars, far too close for comfort, and the cold bites harder but it’s not the wind. There is no wind here. What wind one has rushes from one’s lungs and immediately doubles the atmosphere present, and as it dissipates in a flurry of fog one get the unmistakable scent of gunpowder and dust. Hanging desperately in one’s vision, faintly through distance and atmosphere the glittery, city-speckled edge of North America slips behind the planet. As the ground too slowly encroaches the last thought might be, as the realization makes its way in time to dissipate into entropy, that someone will be hard-pressed to explain these bones on this plain, on this cold hardened lava sea, and that thought might be enough to bring serenity, before the absurdity elicits a laugh.

2013-03-18  »  Edward Semblance