Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Discover the Moon
My nephew some months ago, in the amazement and curiosity that only a two year old can display, pointed at the moon, wondering “What is it?” When his parents told him ‘that’s the moon,’ he spent the next weeks with his little neck craned back, his finger pointed, calling its name, as if it were his very own Easter egg, hidden in plain sight.
“Where moon?” he asked frantically, when a tree or building obscured the lunar sphere as they drove in the evenings. When it became visible again, he’d smile with relief and say, “Oh, there moon.”
At night, he refused to go to bed, perhaps for fear that if he stopped watching, it would disappear. Or maybe because he was just so fascinated by it, that he couldn’t tear his wonderful little gaze away from the window.
For two years he had benefited from its light. Two years it had beamed without his acknowledgement. But he was thrilled to find it—as if his discovery was necessary, somehow, for its existing, as if no one had ever discovered it before, as if we hadn’t already walked upon it.
A child is the bravest of explorers. Everything is something to be discovered. He has no fear, sets no boundaries for his creativity. The world is a very old new place, much like the moon. It’s born anew with each child born.
Just like my nephew, I want to discover the moon, to wrap myself in a two year old’s curiosity and encounter the world for the first time. For only then will I find in this very old world the new vision of things to write about.
But unlike my nephew, the intrepid explorer, my discovery is often impeded by fear. Too many others have already found the things in the world— every subject has been touched, every emotion plumbed, every idea expounded. I’m too scared of being embarrassed to gape at things I’ve lived beneath, around, for 25 years. I’m terrified that others will find my discoveries too simple, will laugh at my ponderings and personal enlightenments.
Far too often, I long for material to write yet am too proud to discover my world and all the wonderful routine subjects in it for the first time. I’m afraid of what it will cost me—settling to find my awe in what I know in the here and now instead of the what might be and what I don’t know.
But the truth is that first I must discover the moon, before I will ever walk on it.