Several weeks ago, I received in the mail a large heart which said, in inch high letters, "to the moon and back." It hangs here in my living room, intriguing me when it catches my eye, which seems to be frequently. So, I ask, "What is it that draws my attention, makes my heart take a leap? What lures me like some magic, mystical magnet to this seemingly small, round ball in the sky? Some nights, out on the deck or standing on the desert floor, the moon and stars just seem to scoop me into this feeling of great upwardness. Then, I find myself flying through the stars and heading to the moon.
Yet, this is not really the moon the astronauts walked on, kicking its sand and dust. (Although they are one.) I want to go to the moon that is written about in poetry, fable, and song. "Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars, fill my heart with song, and let me sing forever more.... "* That's the moon Tiny Tim wanted to go to when he shouted with joy on a cold winter eve, several centuries ago saying, "I'd love to go to the moon." Ah, the moon of intrigue, folk tale, and soul food.
Several years ago, in Copenhagen, I strolled past Hans Christian Anderson's house on the canal where he wrote thirty-four verses about a lonely boy and the moon, which, (somewhat paraphrased), begins, "I am a poor lad...one evening I sat in the window...opened the encasement, and oh how my heart leaped up with joy. Here was a well-known face, at last, a round friendly encountence, the face of a good friend I had know at home. In fact, it was the moon who looked in on me...." I can see this small boy as I write, called Hans, looking to the moon and the moon looking in on him, as if it were not a century or two ago.
Yes, this moon does appear to look back with compassion on our human condition. So when I go to the moon, I'd like to visit the dark side, as well. I don't want to miss it. I think it is pretty amazing -- to be free of human stuff. For to know the dark side, is truly to know ourselves.
Tiny Tim, the poor lad and we, have a relationship with a little round ball in the sky. How seemingly insignificant? But is it really? What value can we put on a shout of joy on a cold, dark, winter night or find companionship in a velvet, silent presence in our loneliness? The heart expands. It's no little thing to walk on a beach or the desert sand in the moonlight with love -- be the companion, a child, friend, dog, lover, or oneself.
How invitational, this moon of the sage, poet, and storyteller. How do we explain this sacred coming home in ourselves to a place where we are not alone? I can't, of course. Yet, a sweet song of mystery and magic does breathe in our hearts.
*"Fly me to the moon..." is written by Bart Howard who sounds like he may have taken the same trip as Tiny Tim...