April 26, 2011

Moon over the mountain

Last week’s full moon shining brilliantly from a (currently rare) cloudless sky made me think of my childhood. As a kid I grew up on a farm in western Victoria – over 20 miles (and at least that many kilometers!) from the nearest town and source of light pollution. The regular cycle of the moon was a thing you saw but perhaps, as a young kid, you didn’t fully notice or appreciate. 

Over 30 years of living in major cities had made me forget the small things about the lunar cycle. Sure you catch glimpses of the moon in the city and, if you take the time, you can follow the cycle. But, in the country, with no artificial lights to obscure your observations, you notice the smaller things. The feint outline of the entire moon as the new moon starts to wax. The minute detail of the moon’s surface on a clear night. The wonder of moonlight casting shadows as you take an evening stroll. The inky blackness of a new moon. 

There are other things I am starting to appreciate that I must have seen as a kid but had forgotten. The “quiet” of the early morning that is filled with the sounds of numerous birds heralding the dawn. The cacophony of cicadas and frogs in the evening. The mist wafting though the trees as it rolls up the mountain. 

Joni Mitchell sang (in Big Yellow Taxi) “you don’t know what you’ve got 'til it’s gone”. I would say (don’t ask me to sing it) “you don’t realise you’ve lost something ‘til you get it back again”!

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