There’s a silvery orb that we witness, suspended without ropes, in the sky every night. We know that it is more massive that we can contemplate, so how is it that it hangs there effortlessly? It glows benignly, and has a magnetic radiance. So many romantic tales have been written about what it would be like to live on the moon that it sometimes feels like a place where we would be more at home than on this planet. It is a magical, mysterious entity, which evokes extravagant imaginings. It is a wondrous dreamweaver in the sky.
What’s In A Name?
The word moon has a rounded, comforting sound, rhyming with womb. Such words are attractive because they seem undemanding, and without spikes. But the moon has other ways to attract us as well. Mysteriously, it is 384,000 km away, yet seems so close that we could pluck it from the sky. In addition, it is so intrinsically linked to earth as to have a significant effect on our tides. We feel a strange, compelling, almost possessive bond with this barren planet. Other planet have moons, some have many, but this is our personal moon. We want to own it, and we feel this ownership every night, but at the same time we, except for the very fortunate few, can never go there. It is constantly beautiful, and permanently out of reach, qualities which make it extremely enticing.
The Enchantment Of Silvery Grey
How would you term the appearance of the moon? It is certainly some shade of grey, or perhaps silver, but, as well as this, it glows, which gives it an ethereal quality. Is it possible to capture the sense of that in a descriptive term? It seems elusive, and no word, or set of words, we can devise does justice to the vision. The colour is calm, neither cold nor warm, but a shade that encapsulates both temperatures at once. Heat and cool can act as signifiers for the spectrum of emotion. The aspect of the moon seems to conjure up a sense of perfect balance, as it hovers at the contact point between many emotional states. It’s neither too hot or too cold, nor is it too angry or too reticent. It’s just the perfect hue for contemplation, clear thinking, and peace of mind.
A Glow That Shrouds The World
The face we see of the moon seems kindly and gentle. It glows with approval like a favourite uncle. We don’t feel that this gaze is one of scrutiny or judgement. It is a passive, accepting look. On a cloudless night, the moon shrouds the world in a silvery light. It highlights our surroundings so that shapes and forms are visible but still indistinct. Selected edges and surfaces are given a grey highlight that emerges from the blackness, and even the dark of night seems to soften under the moon’s illumination.
Another enchantment of the moon is its constantly changing aspect. We are given ever greater, or ever diminishing, glimpses of it over the course of a lunar month. The cycles of the moon are steady, and incremental. No matter what turmoil or disasters are happening in our own lives, the moon continues to wax and wane. The moon personifies our human experience. Sometimes a small, intense sliver appears signifying a new beginning, or an ending, and then there are all the stages in between, leading to completeness, or nothing.
Sun People And Moon People
It’s hard not to compare the sun and the moon. Sometimes it feels that the world is separated into moon people or sun people. There are the brightly shining, somewhat flashy, exuberant types, who surge into a room, and cause a sensation before leaving. Then there are the quieter, more contemplative people, who see the world in more poetic tones, who observe, hang back, look for details, listen. We probably all contain various percentages of the two sides, and flit between them as circumstance dictates. Both have their place. The sun is brilliant and brings everything into sharp focus, whereas the moon is obscure, covers more than it reveals, and is a constant source of wonderment.
The Dark Side Of The Moon
The moon has secrets, and it keeps them well. There is a side of the moon that we never see, which is veiled in darkness, never exposed to light. It is there in physical reality, but we perceive it as a void, a place we never contemplate. This exclusion of all light is a permanent refuge for our dark night of the soul. It acts as a metaphor for the deepest recesses of our minds, where all unspoken, guilty desires live, things we are afraid to face. Blackness protects us, and provides cover for the parts of ourselves we do not want to acknowledge.
All photos taken by Ju Underwood at XVA Art Hotel, Dubai