A woman named after a tree was the first to personify the moon for me. Now, to regard her as anything other than "she" seems inconceivable.
I distinctly remember my confusion upon hearing the words leave the woman's mouth. To whom was she referring? Only a moment ago, we had been speaking of the moon, and now, I found myself besieged with personal pronouns.
Sedated by the stifling heat, I nodded along, hoping that my feeble mind would soon regain cognizance. I breathed a sigh of relief when a few campground friends sat down to join us. To my surprise, they too knew this mystery woman, and the conversation about her flowed like an unhindered stream.
A spectator at a ping pong match, I watched attentively, unable to really follow. They spoke wonders of this mystical being, of their ethereal connectedness to her, of the manner in which she influences the ocean, and lives, in ways unbeknownst to most. I felt an escalating urge to meet her, though I was starting to believe that I already had.
As the exchange went on, it dawned on me that she was here, in this same stretch of Central American jungle. In this same place where I had inadvertently ended up. My excitement culminated as I heard it mentioned that she was to appear, the very next evening, in her most well-renowned monthly performance. How lucky I felt, to find myself in this shared space.
The following day came and went and before long, the sky had assumed my favourite shade of inky black-indigo. That beguiling hue, which I had grown to love, for it signalled that the hour of lovers, poets, and dreamers was upon me. I breathed in heavy air, imbued with humidity and anticipation. It seemed that every creature present had a shared but unspoken knowing of the mesmerizing spectacle on the horizon.
And so, it began. The star of the show unhurriedly made her debut, emanating her gentle white light, the only one capable of disrupting such darkness. Her entrance, as always, was somehow gracefully dramatic. Slow but quick. Calculated but impassioned. Humble but resplendent.
I observed as the members of the crowd, generally busy dancing, began turning their attention upward. By this time, she had assumed her position so high in the sky that not a single set of eyes could have missed her. I felt the influence of her presence, the fervent energy that accompanies her fullness, along with the hopeful sensation of new beginnings that she brings.
There she sat, upon her midnight pedestal, a carefully coiffed beauty queen in her Sunday Best. Beautiful. Elegant. Nurturing. Delicate. Strong. She was all of the things one could hope to be. A quintessential manifestation of the divine feminine.
In that moment, I understood what the tree-named woman had been referring to. I felt a surge of energy rush through me as I began to grasp my connection to this astral body in the sky, and to the ground beneath my feet, and to every creature, stick, stone, leaf, and star around me.
The Moon. She was there to remind me of universal interconnectedness; that we are all one and the same.
I watched her for hours with tear-filled eyes. How many times had I looked at her without truly seeing her?
Not once had I contemplated her with the veneration that she deserved. Not once had I considered that she had immeasurable wisdom to share. I had, for years, simply forgotten to look up. How exasperating it must have been for her to be dubbed a lifeless nonentity by my pragmatic, cynical mind.
She never held it against me though because there she still was. Smiling down at me. Shining so bright that my head-mounted flashlight was rendered obsolete. Illuminating my journey home. Allowing me to gaze into the sparkling eyes of those who crossed my path along the way. Changing the tides of the ocean, that had so sweetly rocked me upon its waves for years.
After all of this time, there she still was, beautiful, forgiving, serene. I have never looked at her, or at anything else the same again.