Earth, Moon and Sun Aligned

Guru Baba had brought his assistant Sami into a field at dusk, saying that he must stay there all night, “learning lessons from the Man in the Moon.” When Sami asked why, Guru Baba got angry and said, “Because I said so! I know more than you!” Then he told him about Yoshitoshi, the Japanese artist who had made a series of woodblock prints called One Hundred Views of the Moon.

Guru Baba took Sami’s arm and said, “Let’s walk this way,” leading him towards a boggy area. Sami was about to suggest a different direction, but decided to hold his tongue.

Their feet began squelching. Sami was wearing boots but Guru Baba wore sandals and his feet became mud clumps. They reached a natural pond, partly covered with lilies, and stopped to inhale their lush aromas. Guru Baba gave a low laugh and pointed to a darker corner of the pond and said, “Look at the moon in the water.”

Maybe Guru Baba was on to something. Sami really should improve his observation.

It was barely dusk. The faint moon in a pale blue sky was even fainter in the water. It was barely visible. When he focussed upon it though, there it was, with the same strange play of light and dark across its face. It was subtle and hopeful, always changing but always whole. He realized that he didn’t really understand why the moon waxed and waned, or at least why it appeared to do so from earth.

“Do you feel drawn towards it?” asked Guru Baba. Sami half-nodded. “The earth and the moon are attracted to each other. It’s nothing strange, just the same power we experience everyday – gravity. But the earth doesn’t let the moon steal its possessions, so the moon just tugs a little at the water.”

“That’s what causes the tides, isn’t it?”

“Yes it is. The oceans’ waters rise and fall according to the moon’s position, with a  little help from her brother sun. The highest and lowest tides are when their pulls are combined, when earth, moon and sun are aligned. These alignments formed the basis of ancient calendars.”

Sami looked at the pond again but the moon was gone. He had to step forward to see it now; it moved more quickly than he’d realized. Guru Baba continued, “And it doesn’t just affect tides. It affects all water. That’s why it’s better to plant crops at certain times of the month, when moisture is nearer the surface.”

“Does water creates mirages?” said Sami.

Guru Baba said enigmatically, “Maybe it does.” He adjusted his robes at the back in an unseemly manner. “But most of all the moon affects us. Yes, it affects unbounded bodies of water like the earth’s oceans, but it also affects our smaller, bounded oceans. The moon affects our dreams and fertility. It alters our blood, organs and brains. That’s why I behave the way I do sometimes. I am being visited by the Man in the Moon.”

Sami was confused by the moon sometimes being masculine and sometimes feminine. Maybe that was a lesson in itself.

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