Do you ever ponder the moon? Do you understand how important it is to life on earth, or do you view it as something that always has, and always will be a permanent fixture in the sky? Is the moon simply a familiar occurrence with nary a thought to the role it plays in our lives? Would it surprise you to learn that without the moon, life on earth would be radically different.
Compared to other moons in the universe, ours is massive. At about a third of the size of earth, it is by far the largest of all the known moons. The gravitational pull of the moon is the force that creates ocean tides, it also keeps our planet tilted on its axis; resulting in our four predictable seasons. From plankton to sea turtles, moonlight is the maestro that that dictates behaviour.
Without the strong gravitational pull of the moon, we would be at the mercy of the sun’s gravity. It would tilt our axis back and forth. The poles could become lush jungles as the countries around the equator languished under miles of ice. The jet stream, ocean currents, and our concept of seasons would be replaced by unpredictable swings – likely too much for most life on earth.
I don’t expect that the moon will be going anywhere soon. The point of this ponder is to think about how incredibly lucky we are to even be here. We squabble about the existence of God, commit atrocious acts in his name, debate global warming, squander resources, yet forget to consider the delicate balance of circumstance that allows us to thrive. Every once and a while we need to stop and look at the moon. Perhaps by gazing at it we will be reminded of our good fortune, finally understanding that it doesn’t matter how or why we’re here.
Everything we know; all that we take for granted, works as part of a vast system called the universe. Take a moment to ponder the moon, and let it be a reminder of how lucky we are. Maybe then it will start to sink in that we’re behaving very badly, and wasting precious time.