Moon Illusions

Have you ever had one of those moments when you feel like a soundtrack should be welling up behind you because every single thing is right in the world? Wow, insanely cheesy, I know. But admit it, you've had those moments (at least I hope so.) I just watched The Hours yesterday, and I think Clarissa Vaughan said it best:

"So, this is the beginning of happiness. This is where it starts. And, of course, there will always be more.” Then she laughs ruefully and goes on to say, “It never occurred to me it wasn’t the beginning. It was happiness. It was the moment…right then.”

I get Alex into bed at 9:30. The red dots on the monitor stop bouncing up and down. I hold my breath waiting for another sound, but his breathing has slackened. He is settling into that deep, even breathing that signals the end of another day. When I pull his door closed, leaving it just slightly ajar, the world exhales. This is the moment when peacefulness takes over. I've added one more day to the growing bank of my son's memories. And for a short time (whether it's two hours or six), I can hang up the mother hat. I know that I will need it again soon, but for now it will be safe on a hook nearby.

Kevin and I decide to get in the hot tub. The temperature is rising just as quickly in the water as it drops outside. After a few minutes of hushed stares at the sky, Kevin says:

"Why does the moon look bigger when it's on the horizon than up in the sky?"

We debate this for a minute:
Closer to the equator? no, always the same distance away.
Different tilt of the Earth of certain times? yes, but that doesn't happen within a couple of hours

This is the type of discussion that makes me remember why I married this man. This question of the moon is something that I would think about while most of the world just rushes forward without even noticing. But here is my best friend sitting two feet from me musing over the same questions.

He cocks his head slightly toward me as I say,

"Good question. We'll have to figure that one out."

So today I looked it up. Turns out it's an optical illusion. The moon is actually the same size when it sits orange and pregnant on the horizon as when it's staring down at us from directly above. If you were to trace an outline on a piece of paper at two different times during moonrise, the dimensions would be the same for both. If you take a picture of that gigantic orange moon, it will look like the small orb that we see at midnight. That beautiful moonrise moon is a figment of our mind's eye.

This, to me, is perfect. To some it's simply a hushed baby and some hot water. In my mind, "It was happiness. It was the moment…right then." Thank goodness for moon illusions.

1 comment:

Susan W said...

eloquent. beautiful. magical.

What a wonderful evening Sara...may you have many more!