Earlier this month, the astrophotographer Marcella Giulia Pace published the most amazing photograph that depicted 48 different colors of a full moon, captured over the course of 10 years. It is a stunning photograph, showing the moon bathed in the most magnificent ombre hues of reds, purples, blues, oranges, and browns.
The colors of the Moon seen from the Earth.#NASAMoonSnap #NASAArtemis @NASAArtemis pic.twitter.com/FERfUe2nwR
— Marcella Giulia Pace (@enrosadire) August 20, 2022
When I first saw it, I just stopped and stared at it for a long while, absorbing the nuanced grandeur of the image. How special it was that—for 10 years!—this photographer took the time to look up into the night sky to capture these images, showing so many of us the beauty and power of a moon that most people do not take the time to stop and see. I also immediately thought to myself, “I have to show this to my daughter!”
I am the mother of a daughter who has been fascinated with the moon since the day I brought her home from the hospital. One of her first words was “moon!” and she had this uncanny knack to always spot where the moon was in the sky, whether it was day or night. When most people never paid attention to it, the moon somehow always called to her.
The window above her bed always has a perfect view of the moon right around the time she goes to sleep. She often asks me if she can leave her curtains open so she can “take a moon bath,” to be embraced by the moon’s light as she dreams.
When she was only four years old, I recall her staring at a full, blue moon and asking me with such genuine wonder, “Momma, how can we get to the moon?” We spent the next hour talking about astronauts and NASA and rockets and space. And she looked at me with such determination and said, “I am going to be an astronaut, Mom. I’m going to get to the moon.”
Her wonder and amazement and awe for the moon gave me goosebumps.
I said to her, “Honey, I have always considered you my moon child.”
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Her little face looked at me inquisitively and asked, “What do you mean, Momma?” And so I took out a letter I had written to her years ago when she was only a year old.
“Here, let me read to you something I wrote to you when you were a baby, that I want you to know and understand, and keep with you as you grow.”
With her interest piqued, I read:
Ever since the first day you came home from the hospital, you have been fascinated by the moon. I very vividly remember rocking you in my arms the first night you were home when you were three days old. Your little tired eyes were completely closed . . . but when I got close to a window and your face was bathed in the blue light of the moon, you opened your eyes and just stared into the sky, mouth open, with an expression of what appeared to be genuine, raw wonder.
Fast forward almost two years: I’m not sure who taught you how to say “moon,” but you say it all the time now. There will be days when the sun is low in the sky and twilight is approaching, that we’re rushing around from here to there, and I am distracted by life and chores and tasks. And without a doubt, every time, your gaze wanders up into the sky, and you say with a smile, “moon!” pointing to where the moon is at in the sky.
Every time we’re outside, you always look for the moon.
Some nights, you wake up in the middle of the night and cry and cry, inconsolably. Daddy can’t get you back to sleep, and if we try and rock you in your nursery you just keep crying. But I have recently discovered that if I take you out of your room, and bring you to that same guest bedroom window that you gazed out of on your first night home from the hospital, you’ll slowly calm down and hush. I wrap you in a blanket and lay you against my chest while propped up on the guest bed, and we look out the window together up at the midnight sky. After your tears have completely ceased, every time you’ll look up at me and in the softest voice, you whisper to me, “moon.”
Sometimes you wake up (too) early, and I groggily walk to your nursery, and in an effort to keep resting, I repeat the same sequence—bring you into the guest bedroom, wrap you in a blanket, lay on the guest bed, and we stare at the window. But in the mornings, as dawn is breaking and the moon is retreating, we often can no longer see the moon or stars. During these moments, you say to me with curiosity, “moon?” and I tell you “No, honey, no moon. The sun is up, and the moon is gone for now.” And you always reply, “Moon hiding.”
I do not feel your curiosity for the moon, and its calming effect on you is a random thing. You’re a June baby, and one of your birthstones is a moonstone.
Much has been written about moonstones and their perceived, fabled, and actual effect on humans over the last thousands of years. But throughout time, moonstones have always been heralded for their calming, soothing effect, as well as their ability to cleanse and dispel negativity.
Moonstones have been said to bestow a depth of feeling, a gentleness within the self that brings happiness to the environment in which it resides.
Some say moonstones have spiritual energy that “opens the mind to hoping and wishing, inspiration and impulse, serendipity and synchronicity. It brings flashes of insight, keeping one from negatively banishing possibilities. Yet it grants intuitive recognition and allows one to absorb that which is needed from the universe and not necessarily what is wanted.”
One of the most special things about moonstones is that they possess an optical phenomenon called adularescence, which is the shimmering, shifting, glittery effect one sees within a moonstone. Adularescence can exist only in the presence of light—the effect is a product of the interaction between the light and the internal microstructures of the minerals in the moonstone.
This all makes so much sense to me, my darling. I see in you, my baby girl, the same powerful, intriguing energy that I think you see in the moon, and that is possessed by the moonstone. I can sense in you the depth of feeling, the gentleness of self, and the adularescent light that illuminates and calms those you are around. I truly hope that, as you grow up, you remain in tune with your intuitive recognition to know what you truly need in life, and not necessarily what is merely wanted.
I think when you search the night sky for the light of the moon, you’re searching for something that somehow already feels familiar to you.
I feel the light of the moon is in you.
And I hope you can use its calming light to guide you throughout your life. And whereas some may say that a person has a halo or an aura, I feel that as the light of life shines through the uniqueness that is you, those around you will see that your face and heart are illuminated with an adularescent glow. It will be enchanting, unique, and beautiful.
So when your days are long, hard, and seem endless, know the night’s sky will always come, the cleansing moon will appear, and a new day will dawn. And if at any point, life gets dark or hard or you feel lost . . . just keep searching for the moon, my baby. And you’ll always find yourself again.
I love you.
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When I finished reading the letter, she laid her face on my lap. Her small, 4-year-old face was illuminated by the blue light of the moon, and she smiled. “I have moon power inside of me,” she said.
“Yes, baby, you do,” I replied as I kissed her cheek. “Always remember that.”
Reflecting on this memory after seeing Ms. Pace’s powerful moon photograph, I reminded my now 8-year-old daughter of her moon power. I showed her the image and told her that—like the moon—she will go through phases. Sometimes she will feel full, other times she will feel seemingly empty. As she grows, there will be times she feels red, purple, blue, brown. But I reminded her these 48 brilliant colors of the moon are not showing us how much the moon itself is changing—the core of what the moon stays the same—the light reflecting off the moon, the adularescence, is what is giving us these different images. The essence of who she is will always be at her center, and it will always be there to guide her if she stays attuned to it.
She looked at me and smiled. “I remember, Mom. I haven’t forgotten about my moon power or my inner light.”
Hearing her say that with such knowingness, like the moon, I beamed.
Originally published on the author’s blog