Last Wednesday, I came back home from football quite late, as usual. It had been a long day at work and although playing football tends to help decompress all the fatigue from the day, it did not seem to work this time. I guess it was just one of those days when the things that usually take us to our happy place fail to do so. With so much going on, I did not feel like showering quickly and going straight to bed, so I decided to order something in, play some indie music on my phone, and just have dinner on the roof, with no companion other than the moon and a starry night.
At that moment, everything seemed to vanish, even the music in my ears. It was probably around 1 o’clock in the morning, and yet the sky seemed as bright as day. All the fatigue just took off, leaving behind some form of emptiness. Not the kind that makes us feel sad and broken, but the kind that paradoxically fills us with peace. The kind that relieves us from not having some weight on our shoulders.
I ended up describing all of this to a friend the following morning. About how the idea of just sitting there and looking at the moon is the type of treasure I hope to always cherish. In the end, they asked me:
“How does a random waste rock, floating in space, inspire so much in us?”
I was on my way to the office when I read that text, and it struck me. We admire the moon so much – at least I know I do -, and yet we have stopped to try and understand why. What is so special about it? Here is the answer I gave my friend that day:
The context helps as well. At night, it’s our entire façade that falls down. We are no longer contained by the strings of having to be strong, of having to impress anyone. The night tends to reflect everything surrounding our thoughts. Our darkness, our sadness, our fears, our anxieties, our disgusts, and so on. Nights are often accompanied by this light breeze, this light flow of slightly cold air that tricks our minds to just let it out. A bit like this song:
“Remember all the sadness and frustration, and let it go.”
– Iridescent by Linkin Park
It feels like we are just constantly surrounded by our thoughts wherever we go, and yet we are always expected to be strong, to reflect some form of inner light in order to be some form of guide for others, some form of support. That’s where the moon comes in.
We see ourselves in that moon. It receives light from the sun and then pays it forward in order to bring some hope to the darkness of the night. The moon allows us to see around in the midst of ink darkness. True, it might just be a waste rock floating in space, but it remains a beautiful waste rock floating in space.
The moon is a reminder of how easy it is to misjudge our importance in life. We think we are useless, whereas others see us as a source of light. They find us shining, beautiful, always there for them. For many people in our lives, we are their moons: we bring comfort and light when they are cornered by sadness and darkness.
In the case of people who do not show how they feel inside, the night is their friend and the moon their sanctuary. With all the violence and chaos around them and the constant pressures of having to wake up, this is where they find shelter and peace. At that point, the walls fall down, and the thoughts go out. The cold breeze of the night replaces them, filling their insides and reminding them what needs to be done when Heaven seems so far away: “Just keep breathing”.
Comfort finally kicks in, and the disconnection from the world begins. At this level, the only thing that can be done is to look up and give in to the moon. Once the recharge is complete, we are ready to go to sleep. We wake up the next day, able to take on the world again.
That’s how the moon inspires us.
The same way it manages to inspire a wolf when we hear it howl to that light in the middle of the dark sky.
It is our only source of comfort in the midst of the pain and of the cold we are going through on our own.
And yet, it is also our light in the darkness when we are all alone, helping us get back up and make it through the night until the sun comes up again.
Thanks to the moon, the sun will shine on us again.