“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others.
It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences.
What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.”
― Ming-Dao Deng,
There is a ring around the Moon.
I see it on certain nights, usually close to full moon, when its energy is at its peak. If I look at it, I will see a glowing, pulsing corona, shimmering with blue energy, vibrating against the Black-which-isn’t-Black of the night sky. It hums; it sings. It chants a karakia (prayer) to me from the heavens. The earth-bound me wonders if perhaps it is my spectacles, or perhaps that they need to be cleaned, since I am wont to let them get really smeary before I do anything about it. So I take them off, and look again. But no, in spite of my astigmatism, or perhaps because of it, the corona is still there. The luminescent flickering remains.
Then the Mystic in me rises to silence the weakly whispering Scientist, the child of Reason, which, from time to time, attempts to have a say. Be gone, child of Newton. There is no place for you here. It subsides and wanders off sulkily, muttering darkly. Now, the Mystic says, where is the meaning? What is the metaphor? What are you being told? Where will you fit this piece into the jigsaw puzzle of your understanding? I fumble, examine the piece from every angle, searching for a place where it might fit and add to the sum of my understanding, and then decide I will wait until next month to try again.
The thought comes briefly that perhaps I should get out my camera and attempt to make a photograph of this phenomena, but I have the perfect get-out-of-jail card; I do not have a lens long enough to bring it in close. And anyway, the thought of all that busy process and heavy, manipulated acquisitiveness, makes me fear that I will lose sight of something at once ephemerally delicate, at once exquisite and precious. Some things are just not meant to be measured.
However, I have learned one, thing, courtesy of the Inner Scientist:
I do not trust my eyes.
I know that my lenses are man-made, courtesy of double cataract surgery, and contain inbuilt UV protection. At least that is what the ophthalmologist told me, as he took the bandages away and showed me a world that had been fading day by day. Anything man-made is mostly not to be trusted. And anyway perception of proportion is at the mercy of my astigmatism. The left eyes sees the world as wider-than-taller, and the right one sees it as taller-than wider. Which am I to believe?
My eyes are Lubitels, made from recycled WWII Russian tank parts.
And my mind, the ever-changing energy field, for that is all a mind ever is, an aspect of a greater whole, where nothing ever remains the same, where change is constant, which assembles all the raw data and converts it to meaning, or mind pictures, feeding in feelings to colour it, is suspect at best. I have noticed that people change their appearance, when my feelings towards them change. They look…different, even though Reason, the ultimate Betrayer, tells me otherwise. Of course, it is biochemistry, forming feelings which lie in wait, ready to ambush Absolute Truth.
That’s not so bad then. That means no one sees things the same way.
Then a snide thought sneaks in. If Mind is the place where you see, and everybody sees differently, what is real and what is not? Is the house of my vision built on rock or shifting sands? And why did I ever read Bertrand Russell’s Problems of Philosophy?
The mind pictures hum in the night, flying around in my head like summer mosquitoes in a bedroom with an open window. Eventually I turn away from them and allow them to do what they will (even mosquitoes have to eat) and drift off to sleep.
While I am away, under the moon, the fog comes in over the harbour, sliding in under the carpet of the night, coating all the headlands and places I recognise in impenetrable confusion.
When I awake, early, just on sunrise, the moon is still shuffling its unhurried way across the dome of the sky. Suspended above the Warawaras to the west, it looks back, somewhat surprised to see that I have caught up with it. The blue ring has long gone, and only a wan, pallid countenance faces down upon me.
My intuition tells me to find my camera and be ready. In my semi-stupor, I manage to get most of the settings right. I fire a few test shots to cross-check myself.
Now I wait.
Then it happens.
As I watch, a finger of mist rises, higher and higher, a tendril of Te Wheke, the archetypal octopus, reaching ever upwards, until it crooks itself around the moon, as if seeking to pluck it back to Earth.
Once again, there is a ring around the moon.