Moon and Clouds

Look up!


Every time I see a full or nearly full moon I look for the man in the moon.  To me, the moon – and more specifically seeing the man in the moon – is a proxy measure for a sense of wonder. Regardless of how old or in what walk of life you find yourself in, a sense of wonder makes the day pass more joyously.  A sense of wonder is important to me because wonder helps me to ask questions, to break through cognitive biases, and complacency. Earlier this week as I was doing my early morning run (4 AM) and then later on a walk with my dog and wife, I  marveled at the full moon causing me to reflect back to a 2013 blog entry that reflected a change in how I viewed the world when I realized that I could not see the man in the moon anymore. A slightly amended version of the essay follows. When you are done reading the essay consider whether, when you look up at night, you see the man in the moon or the constellations in the stars.  If you do, let me know why looking up and creating patterns in the sky is important to you.

I enjoy looking up at the night sky and have ever since I was a child.  I saw something special when I looked up this week. The full moon of August 21, 2013 was a blue moon, meaning that it was the third full moon in a season with four full moons. However, when I looked up to see the moon recently, I did not see the Man in the Moon. When did I stop seeing the Man in the Moon? I can remember looking up at the full moon when I was a child to see him. The man in the moon was both a flight of fancy and a goal to be pursued. Once I’d seen it, it was always there. My imagination was primed to see a face on the moon.

Somewhere along the line —after learning of craters and mares, or after buying a small telescope to look at the moon, the planets and the stars — I lost the Man in the Moon. I had become too structured by my newfound knowledge and perhaps too rational to see an imaginary face – no matter how hard I tried. Have I lost the sense of imagination? Have I lost my sense of wonder? Maybe not, but I am troubled that perhaps something innate has escaped, something that needs to be recaptured.

On the next full moon, I am going to study pictures of the Man in the Moon and then go out and see if I can see him. I might just prove to myself that I can see him, but perhaps I can train myself to look more between the lines where imagination lays in wait of discovery. Will my life change by capturing this little piece of my childhood? I don’t know, but I think that being able to imagine and dream – whether it is seeing constellations in the stars, shapes in the clouds or the Man in the Moon — is a talent worth having. I don’t know if I can recapture the Man in the Moon, but I can try to find out.

If you see the man on the moon or it you teach yourself to see the man in the moon, take a few moments to reflect on whether you see anything else in the world around you differently

Link to the original essay.