Thursday, 18 November 2010


The moon down here, it isn’t a satellite. It’s the next town over, skyscraper skyline coming up over the mountains where the people used to live, when there were too many trees on this valley floor. It has the warm life-rattle of a citadel stretching out across this country like a child waking, like a dormant god rolling at last out of bed.

The moon down here is always one of those blue moons that so many people have sung about, and have said that something special or peculiar will happen every time it is that way in the sky. As much as I sometimes don’t like to admit it, those people are right.

I listen to them talking in the small market at lunchtimes, the women of this place, milling as they do along the solitary paved road in their open-toed sandals and wide swinging skirts, and then I return to my concrete and glass tower to watch the sky and the earth in the glow of the dusk and measure, night after night, the depth of the truths they aim to be telling. Night after night I watch the moon down here, and the people down there, and I find myself losing the science, the will to test and monitor and compile results, to prepare graphs and sheet upon sheet of figures and readings and faraway photographs that show, in almost no detail, whatever other worlds the universe may yet have conjured. I find myself losing the science and the need to stand with my eye to that telescope when I can see the moon so clearly from here as it is. Craters sunken and etched, like marks on a school desk – Sun + Moon 4eva – like crow’s feet around its tired, experienced eyes. I watch two people stand between floored halos that rest beneath streetlights, hands reaching out almost in soft invitation to dance. I watch more still gathered around a long table, drinking, laughing, and the jokes almost carry on up to my spy-planeing, eavesdropping ears. I watch a young girl called home by her mother, and, child safely inside, her mother standing outside for a meditative moment, a cigarette and a smile shared with a young man who happens to be passing by. I watch some birds beginning to nest in the clutch of those rainforest-remembering trees. I watch a few others gathered on the edge of the small river, scouring its takeaway menu of various fish by the glow of the moon’s evening blue. And I think about the things that people say about something majestic or peculiar or joyous or strange happening every time the moon is set that way in the sky. I think again about how, down here, I know that those people are right.

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