11 August 2015

On cloudless nights the full moon is a hole

This is the fortieth in a series I am writing for the JEANS section of 'The Nation'.  The series is for children. Adults consider yourselves warned...you might re-discover a child within you! Scroll down for other articles in this series. 
The moon when it is full is always pretty.  It’s pretty when you can see it right up in the sky.  It is pretty when you look at it through the branches of a tree.  It is pretty when there are clouds around it, glowing magically at their edges with moonlight.  A full moon, in addition to all this, freely showers prettiness.
Moonlight on water is beautiful, where it is the sea, a reservoir, a river or even a small pool made by an evening shower.  Moonlight streaming through trees or moonbeams slicing between buildings is soft.  Faces look prettier when they are bathed in moonlight.  Especially on full moon days.
But there are full moons that travel across cloudless skies.  We have all seen this.  Last Friday, the full moon of Esala Poya prompted a 11 year old girl to make an interesting observation.  It was not a cloudless night.  Her sister, 14 years old, in fact brought everyone’s attention to the sky, ‘look at the clouds!’  
Puffy clouds.  Neat rows.  A silver-gold mix.  Yes, it was beautiful.  Everyone agreed.  Including her 11 year old sister.  A few seconds later, she said ‘When there are no clouds, I like to think of the full moon as a hole’.  
Now we know that the moon is not a hole.  It is a spherical object that travels around the earth.  We know that it is spherical because scientists have told us.  They’ve proved it too.  And later, astronauts have confirmed the fact.  But still, when you consider that we see only one face of the moon and since it is so far away, it is certainly possible to think of it as a hole in the sky through which light from some unknown source streams out endlessly.   
The little girl stopped there.  We can think further, though.  We can wonder what exists inside that glowing hole. We can try to imagine it as an entrance into another world or a different universe.  Is everything on that other side made of gold?  Is it a world that is so well polished that it gleams and glitters all the time?  If the moon is a hole, is the sky something like a gigantic canvas?  If so, what lies on the other side of the black plane that is the sky?
That’s one way of looking at things.  Just thinking a bit differently allows you to see different things in fascinating ways.  When we do that, we see other things differently too.  If the moon is a hole what are clouds?  There can be a hundred different answers. Each answer would be a lovely story.  And they all began with a simple observation: on cloudless nights, the full moon can be taken to be a hole.  

Other articles in this series