Last night the sky was dark and clear. The milky way stretching over our heads like a handful of magic dust flung from a celestial hand. Jupiter shining bright in the west and the moon sleeping off its day job was nowhere to be seen. We sat around the fire. The wind had dropped but a winter chill still hung in the air held back by the glowing embers of our hard wood fire.
We started talking about the moon. Telling moon stories. Not talking behind its back you understand – nothing we wouldn't have said if it was shining down on us in all its silver glory.
We spoke about the first man ON the moon and how there is a school of thought that doubts this ever happened. They claim it was all staged somewhere in the Nevada desert. How would we know? Back in 1969 it was just as hard for some rural folk here to believe a man walked on the moon. It made them cross thinking the news bearer was making fun of them. How could it be possible? Which moon? That one! Nope – impossible.
I think the moon should be sacrosanct. It belongs to all the worlds people. Its pull on the tides, on the rhythms of our lives; on when to plant crops and when it will rain continues to underpin life on earth despite our techno immuno cyber developed systems (I was going to say civilizations but changed my mind). When all else gets crazy the moon stays constant, gazing down benign – watching over us. We can send messages to far flung friends via the full moon. "I am looking up and I know you are too" kind of messages.
Can't we ban people from leaving flags, trash, footprints on our moon? Cant we stop them for prospecting for water and minerals? Do they plan to start mining? Will we look up there one day and see smoke and lights and a pall of manmade pollution ringing our moon? Shudder…
With all the money that is spent on space exploration, we could build school roofs for all the schools in the whole wide world – whether they need them or not. We could save topsoil, save forests, clean up our oceans – our drinking water. The possibilities are endless.
Then if we took all the money that is spent on the arms trade; and stolen by corrupt politicians and leaders; and chucked that into the pot we could all holiday forever!
Oh is that my alarm clock – I must have been dreaming.
No wait – someone is rattling the security gate in the passage way. Its 5am but still dark . We have guests and I think they are trying to open the gate so I turn on the lights and peep around the corner (in case it is masked gunmen instead).
HA! It's the porcupine. Somehow we shut him inside the house last night. He is pushing the gate frantically. I move towards him and he starts rattling his quills – a sound like one of those Australian aboriginal rain making things (a hollow pole filled with seeds that you upturn and sounds just like rain); OK he rattles his quills making a sound like rain. He stamps his foot now and again too. Its quite musical. But I still don't want him to back into me with his quills, and he is obviously quite flustered.
We sneak past and open the front doors and stoep doors. He scurries off into the darkened kitchen. We leave him to find his own way out. Daylight creeps softly in wearing a rose coloured scarf draped across the sky.