The Man in the Moon

Last evening, illuminated by a twilight moon, my son and I hunted our backyard for overgrown and gangly thistle. There was a huge patch of the eyesores in a corner, with several bulbous targets waiting for precision uppercut swings. I used a golf club and my son used a tree branch to get the job done. We had a great time, laying waste to those cocky bastards.

As we headed back inside, he stopped and looked up at the waxing moon, which was hanging just over the treeline. I asked him if he could see the fabled “man in the moon.” He squinted, and said the craters on the moon looked more like the outline of England. Huh. I could see it too, but only if I squinted. I usually just saw the man in the moon.

It struck me that this was the same moon I looked at when I was eight years old. The same moon when my dad was eight. When my grandma was eight. Her grandmother’s grandmother. Generation after generation — billions of people have looked up at the same moon and seen something. Maybe a face or an outline of a country.

Every person in our history books, every human who has ever lived has looked up at the same moon my son and I were watching. I wondered, when Socrates or Cleopatra or Gandhi looked at the moon, what did they see? What did Lincoln or King Tut see? What will future generations see?

When I was eight years old, I saw a man in the moon. Last night, if I squinted, I could see England. The ever-reliable moon didn’t change, but it was nice to think that what I saw could.

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