Supermoon 2016

Supermoon 2016

Some people claim the moon has negligible physiological and other effects, but scientific research, behavioral statistics, and experiential data indicate otherwise. British biologist Jack (J.B.S.) Haldane astutely noted, “The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we can imagine.”

The moon might not be strange so much as it is remarkable, especially in regards to its relationship with Earth. We would be foolish to expect anything less than the remarkable from a body with both an orbit and rotation of 27.3 days. A stable moon is critical to life. The gravity of more than one like moon would probably shred us. The mass of the moon—which scientists believe collided with Earth at the precisely optimal angle at the exact right time—is just one of at least sixty-eight outcomes, some of which are highly improbable, upon which our habitation of Earth depends. The odds of just ten or so of those events occurring independently of each other are staggering. Mathematically the conditions that created life on Earth, including its relationship with the moon, are not merely rare. They are virtually impossible, far beyond remarkable.

Yet on any given day or night, we can probably find something remarkable if we’re observant. Nonetheless, hour upon hour, the effects of the perigee were palpably beyond something merely noteworthy. The first night, radiance seeped into even the darkest corners as if radioactive fallout were responsible for the glow of normally dull objects—things that could ostensibly be viewed during that eerie time by only the most intrepid interlopers. Life was frozen in still frames against the stagnant night. Nothing moved or made a sound, hour after hour.

Following a windy day made cacophonous by plaintive barks inundated with an inscrutable uneasiness and punctuated by an unusual amount of both human and animal activity, frenetic exertions lurched through the next silvery night like the bad intentions of treasonous specters. Tiny arm hairs stood on end as though electrically charged, as if the moonlight had passed through a different medium during Earth’s latest rotation around a Sun that both creates and destroys.

Unseen creatures scurried in the woods, matching one human step with two of their own. Barks went back and forth until becoming yelps that eventually ceded to the cries of coyotes. One group of coyotes and then two raged against the night until one pack reached a jagged crescendo, its edges cutting through everything before silence swooped back down to throw a stiff blanket over the weary night. Like the giant tides breaking up against the barriers of both humanity and the planet, the unsteady, violent energy had dissipated. Night could again be perceived in still frames. But like a wave traveling unfettered through the vacuum of space, the crescendo echoed indelibly—its message ineradicable. Life was alarmingly fluid, ragged, and—most of all—undeniably temporal.

“He stretches out the north over empty space;

He hangs the earth on nothing.”

– Job 26:7


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