Sometimes, all it takes is a one-word prompt to get us writing.

Today’s Daily Post writing prompt: MOON

I WAS walking through Glebe with the two women with whom I had presented a workshop at the Building the New Economy conference when I saw it.

Glebe is an old inner urban enclave close to the CBD here in Sydney, a juxtaposition of Victorian era terrace houses and other structures from the times since. Crossing a street I looked over and there it was. A big, yellowish disk not far above the horizon.

“Hey, look at that”, I said.

The others looked, made some appreciative comments, then we went on our way, making for a bar on Glebe Point Road to rinse away the mental clutter of the conference and refresh our outlook on the world.

It was the evening before full moon.

Same moon, other places

It was not Sydney where I had my most memorable experience of moon.

I was in the back of a truck, sharing space with half a dozen people and a load of cargo. It was night. We had driven out of Auki around sundown and taken the narrow gravel road northwards. Had we been going for hours? I didn’t know. Things like time fade into a type of blur here in the Solomon Islands.

Speed is out of the question on these winding island backroads though the truck maintained a more or less even pace, stopping once or twice at some quiet, darkened village to disembark people. Then it was off into the moonlit countryside, not a light to be seen as we passed below overarching trees and through open country.

This, we knew, was the night of the full moon. We drove on. Then, the road curved and we came upon the coast. The magnificence that you experience only where there are no city lights opened up before us. Magnificence is understatement and the sight as we followed the shoreline of a lagoon late that night remains fresh in memory.

It was like this. The moonlight reflected from the lagoon’s still waters, turning them silvery and silhouetting the coconut palms along the shoreline. Above, it illuminated and fringed the clouds, outlining them with superb silver borders. Words are no substitute for this vision splendid, as you can imagine. It was a visual rather than a literary feast.

A different moon

It was the southern winter of 1969. I was working then for the postal service in the big mail exchange in Redfern, an inner suburb of Sydney. I was  young.

I had signed on for what I thought would be six months. That had been a couple years before. Another couple years would elapse before I walked out of those big glass doors for the last time and headed for a place and a life far, far distant.

That July day had started as did every weekday workday by my walking to work from my room in the city to start at 6am. That was the shift I preferred because, finishing at 2.30pm I had the rest of the afternoon and evening to do whatever I liked. Having that big chunk of time gave me a sense of freedom. Although that freedom was diminished in later years, it is something that has recently returned and I am grateful for that.

Perhaps it was late morning when the entire staff was called up to the cafeteria on the top floor of the building. There, we found a number of television sets. Around these we gathered.

A quietness descended and on those black and white screens the fuzzy image of a man in a bulky white suit descending a ladder appeared. He hesitated, then stepped to the ground to make that “one small step for a man, one giant step for mankind”. We watched as Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon.

I was young on July 20, 1969. The moon wasn’t, and it would never seem the same again.

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