"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night." - Genesis 1:16
Everyone knows that the moon is not really luminous in its own right. God could have made it that way, but He didn't. He chose to create instead an exotic dance of light, reflection, and shadow, probably just because He is God and got a kick out of it. Maybe it is more energy efficient - I don't know. What is curious to me is how we earthlings, from some primal instinct, still treat the moon as a light in its own right. There's a science-defying romantic in each of us, especially when caught off guard on a midsummer's night.
Gazing at the moon this evening from our driveway, with the wide night all around me, I suddenly felt very vulnerable, as if gravity might at any moment lose its grip on me and let me slide off into the empty sky. It was a rather disconcerting sensation, and it made me want to stretch out on my stomach, find a crack in the concrete to hold on to, and hang on for dear life, forever and ever.
Here we are, helplessly suspended in the midst of a boundless void, riding on this "the third rock from the sun." We've mapped out our tidy little solar system pretty well, but for all we know we haven't even gotten out of the neighborhood. I read just recently that our telescope-savvy friends have discovered a massive "hole" in the universe, a billion light years across, with no stars, galaxies, or other twinkly stuff.
Color me small.
Image courtesy of noao.edu