Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The moon

I have had a bit of an obsession with the moon lately. This is the third moon piece that I have done in the last few months. I am showing you this little postcard piece because I haven't posted any art for so long and because I can actually show this. I started it, intending for it to be part of a secret project, but part way into it I decided it really wasn't right for that project. I went ahead and finished it because I kind of like it.

As I was stitching on it I was thinking about the moon and I wonder if children are taught these days about how we always see the same side of the moon as it orbits. When I was a child a lot was made of the fact that we had only ever seen one side of the moon and the other side was unknown territory. It was a little mysterious and shivery to imagine what might be on "the dark side of the moon." Then we sent astronauts out into space and they circled the moon and the mystery was solved. The back looked, I think, pretty much like the front.

I remember when the Apollo 8 mission circled the moon. It was Christmas Eve, 1968. My family was going to Christmas Eve services at the Pocatello First Methodist Church and listening to coverage on the radio in the car on the way to the church. Just as we arrived in the parking lot we heard that the spacecraft had passed behind the moon. It would take, as I recall, about 20 minutes for it to emerge around the opposite side and in that time communication would be cut off because the moon would be blocking radio transmissions. Late in the service I saw my parents have a brief, whispered discussion and my Dad quietly slipped out of the pew and disappeared out the back door. He came back a few minutes later and gave Mom a discreet "thumbs up" sign. He just had to make sure the spacecraft had made the trip around the moon and was safely headed home, so he slipped out to the car and listened to the report on the radio. It was the next summer that Americans set foot on the moon. I wonder if the moon missions in my youth account for my fascination. I remember looking up at the moon in 1969 and trying to imagine people walking there.
It's probably hard for younger people to imagine what that was like to have that knowledge for the first time in human history. It was on that same Christmas Eve Apollo mission that this photo of the earth, with the surface of the moon in the foreground, was taken. It was the first time humans had ever seen our planet from space. As many times as I've seen it, this photo still just knocks me out.

9 comments:

  1. This is a lovely piece. So striking in its simplicity and colors.

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  2. Love your little piece, and thanks for the walk down memory lane. I had Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" playing in my head by the time I finished reading. Jen

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  3. beautiful piece...and yes, that photo just gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes every time I really look at it.

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  4. Love the quilt...your story brought back such memories. We are both of the same age group that experienced space exploration from the seats in our classrooms with TV's that were wheeled in. I continue to be fascinated with anything space related. I've been trying to set aside quilting time, but have been unsuccessful. Life keeps getting in the way.

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  5. I tell that story at Christmas each year. When Dad came in and gave the "thumbs up" we almost immediately rose to sing "Joy to the World." Whenever I sing that song I am transported back. It had been a pretty terrible year, but in that moment there was nothing but joy for our astronauts who had "slipped the bonds of earth" and would be returning home. I choke up, too!

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  6. I just adore the fact that your dad slipped out of church to make sure the mission had gone okay, and gave y'all the "thumbs up." Says a lot about your family. I could picture my dad doing very much the same.

    I came to that earth-from-the-moon icon via the Whole Earth Catalog, and of course we have an earth flag hanging in front of our house. If only people would stop to really think about the implications; one small, precious blue-green planet spinning through space...

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  7. what a great post!! i love the little moon piece, and the walk down memory lane, that is an iconic photo! I still remember sitting in our high school biology classroom watching the moon walk, we were rivetted to that tv set and you could hear a pin drop.... which was pretty unusual in our class!

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  8. Lovely post. Just one question: did Dad see a certain jolly old man in a red suit circling the globe when he looked up in the sky that night? I'm not sure NASA reported on that trajectory ...

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  9. That moon piece is lovely -- and so is the photo of the earth -- might be an interesting idea to work off of that image and pair it with one of the moon from earth -- hmmmnn.

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