When I was little, there were two things I wanted to be when I grew up, neither of which ironically enough was ‘veterinarian.’ One was a palaeontologist since I loved dinosaurs so very much. The other was an astronaut. I could stare off into space for hours, transfixed by the infinite nothing stretched out before me.
My life is very terrestrial these days, involving neither digging for fossils nor soaring into the clouds, but little things can take me right back to where I was as a kid. When I read about the unusual harvest moon coninciding with the autumnal equinox, I put down the computer and went outside.
The moon was truly luminous last night, so eerie and bright it was as if some celestial being had left the garage light on. It threw the whole backyard into stark relief, bright yet oddly cold. I stood with my chin pointed to the sky, and spotted Jupiter right alongside the moon. Between me and the vastness of Jupiter, nothing but dust motes and 500 million miles.
My mind wandered, as it often does in these situations, to the rest of the world sitting under the same moon. Who else was looking up in quiet amazement at this show of nature, people laughing or crying, all the animals we spoke of this week just thinking of the next day and hoping that perhaps they will find someone to love them. The light exposes much.
Jupiter and the moon shone down dispassionately, as they always do. Lives will come and go, the world will feel great joy and great sorrow, and all they do it sit in the sky and shine light on the situation, as they have since far before my time and will continue to do long after I am gone. It’s hard not to feel inconsequential in those situations, with the weight of the cosmos bearing down on you. What’s the point of all this work, really? What does any of it matter?
From the warm yellow depths of the burrow of our house, Brody emerged. He plopped himself squarely between myself and Jupiter, interrupting my existential crisis. Blinded by the moonlight, I could see only a shaggy silhouette staring at me.
He dropped his favorite toy in my lap, a slimy grey squeaky egg. Snap out of it. Then, throw the egg.
So I threw the egg, watching Brody bound off into the lavender moonscape of the grass. He was happy. I was happy. We retreated into the enclosing embrace of the 4 cozy walls of the house, shielding us from the vastness of the galaxy.
We were happy, and that is enough. I will make my corner of the universe as bright and beautiful as I can, and let the moon remember where I left off when I am ready to do more.