Dark Side of the Moon

I’m eating some of the dumplings which I found on my doorstep when I got home yesterday, interleaved with wax paper so that they won’t stick to the steamer. Sri racha, oil, vinegar, soy sauce. Bitter with a zesty tang, sharp spicy gasp from the chilies. I think they are fungus dumplings. This is my professional opinion. I also suspect that green onions may be involved.

They taste good.

Sometimes I feel like an astronaut, and I am on the dark side of the moon, like Michael Collins in 1969.

One instant I am in the bright glare of the Earth, and the next floating into darkness. Isolated from the entirety of mankind, waiting for revolution.

Am I crucial to the mission? I don’t know. But I don’t know where my partners are, which I suppose means that I am all alone now. To tell the story. Or maybe they are just a little further on, if I just wait moments longer. Can I afford it? The air is heavy with expectancy, the vinegar stings my nose, makes me sneeze.

It is said the Collins claims he didn’t feel lonely on the dark side of the moon. That he felt only “awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence, almost exultation,” in the darkness. I cannot imagine a sense of more profound aloneness, but I can see how one might also embrace it.

Someday I would like to go to the bottom of the ocean, because I’ve heard there are all sorts of amazing creatures there. We know more about the moon than we do about the global oceans, have explored and walked on more of the moon’s surface. I want to see fantastic tubeworms, tentacled monsters, little glowing creatures. I imagine the sense of isolation might be similar to that of being on the dark side of the moon–trapped in a hostile environment, unable to make contact with anyone else, utterly dependent upon life support systems. But still…magical, in the aloneness, to see something no one else has ever seen.

I remember once in Elk waking up in the middle of the night to a moon so bright that the world was painted in silver, sitting out under the apple tree which glittered in the night like it was carved from glass. Each leaf was so distinct and still on the tree that it looked fake, arranged by someone else for my benefit, and the night was so silent that I could hear my own heart. I imagine that’s what it might be like on the dark side of the moon, brittle clarity.

Maybe the dark side of the moon isn’t like that at all. Perhaps it’s just a stony nothingness, burdened with our dreams.