There’s a full moon tonight. The Farmer’s Almanac calls it a Sturgeon Moon in August. I should understand the rhythm of the moon by now, but I don’t. One night it’s a distant headlight, chilly and remote, and the next night it’s a bloody orange that fills half the sky. Sometimes it hovers above the East River. Other times it rises behind the city.

The moon orbits the earth, I know this much, but why does it appear in all corners of the sky? The Babylonians figured this out thousands of years ago when people believed the earth was balanced on the back of a turtle—why can’t I? I half-remember the textbook pictures, the illustrations of elliptical orbits and axial tilts. I tried keeping a logbook once—full moon in the east, half moon in the southwest. I sketched chaotic diagrams of ovals, arrows, and lopsided planets. My calculations would have the moon crashing into Jamaica Bay tomorrow. And wouldn’t that be something?

I wonder what life must have been like in the age of the tortoise-earth, to believe the heavens would come crashing down unless the right sacrifices were made, the correct rituals performed. To believe the moon was a rabbit or that thunderstorms were demons. Lunar. Lunacy. Perhaps this had been a better way to live, to see faces in the moon and believe they granted permission for madness.

John Maus – Hey Moon

We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves | Upset the Rhythm, 2011 | Bandcamp