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Point of View: Moonstruck

Thu, 05/09/2024 - 09:28

It was interesting periodically to view April 8’s moon mostly blotting out the sun for a couple of hours on the East Hampton Library lawn — a phenomenon that in terrestrial terms I came to associate a few weeks later with the Express News Group’s eclipse of The Star in the New York State Press Association contest.

“Usually, you either see people you haven’t seen here in a while at the dump or at the hospital,” I said to a couple in whose orbit we don’t spin, but whom we were happy to see at the gathering the moon had fostered. 

And then, two weeks later, Mary and I, on approaching the traffic light at the corner of Cedar and North Main Streets in the late afternoon, were enchanted to see the full cream-colored moon rising over Mitad del Mundo. As big as a house, Cosmo’s moon, the second full moon of spring, the moon that brings the woman to the man.

Rebecca Boyle urges us at the end of her book, “Our Moon,” to say hello to our planetary helpmate the next time, and so I did that night during a walk with O’en down Woodcock Lane, which the moon, higher in the sky now, but still transfixing, bisected — though I think he, rather than howl at it, was more interested in howling and charging at the curled-up cats whose eyes were following him in the shadows.

If it weren’t for the moon, we wouldn’t be here, Ms. Boyle says. We have it to thank for our seasons, for life, really, which arose from the lobe-finned fish, who, urged on by the moon’s tugs at the tides, eventually made their way up onto the land and eventually — ta-da — became us.

They say Thales’s spot-on prediction of a solar eclipse in the spring of 585 B.C. caused the warring, awed Lydians and Medes to lay down their arms. Would that we were as reverent today.

Apparently, looking at the earth from the moon helps. In that connection, Ms. Boyle cites what Edgar Mitchell, “the sixth man to walk on the moon,” said in 1974: “ ‘You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world and a compulsion to do something about it. . . .’ ”

Stephen Hawking said pretty much the same thing, to wit, that “when we see the earth from space we see ourselves as a whole . . . one planet, one human race. Our only boundaries are the way we see ourselves. . . .”

Until now, I haven’t given much thought to the moon, which, as I say, brought us together on the library’s lawn to marvel at April 8’s eclipse. It’s nice to know that it’s not too late to say hello.  

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