A sliver of silver

Last night I looked at the waxing crescent moon through 8x zoom binoculars. It was the first time I’ve ever looked at the moon through any kind of device.

The number of things I’ve never done is startling to me sometimes. I just turned 39, and have always been aware of the moon. That pearly gem hanging above my head often distracts me while driving, or walking. I’ll interrupt conversations to say ‘look, the moon!’

But somehow it never occured to me to look closer. The technology of binoculars and telescopes has been around for hundreds of years, and is becoming ever more common and affordable. But despite this it never entered my mind to try to look at the moon with anything but my own eyes.

I was given a pair of binoculars for my birthday, and have been looking at birds and treetops. The view has made these things so much more real to me. I notice birds everywhere now, and I had no idea pine trees were so laden with cones on their upper branches. And last night, I pointed my new lenses at the moon.

It’s amazing what a simple 8x zoom will show, even on that little slice of light that is the crescent moon. I could see clearly that the moon was a sphere in shadow, and I even saw different textures and shapes in that shadow. The edge of the sphere was aglow with brilliant white light, illuminating the grey, pockmarked surface. We all know what the moon looks like, but seeing with my own eyes was so much more potent.

I imagine being among the first people to look at the magnified moon–to realize that this was not just a light, but a place. To think, for the first time: we could go there…

Looking at the moon has made it solid, even though I already knew it was there–made it huge, even though I already knew its size.

I must do more looking at things.


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