Tag Archive: moon


 

End of the world

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It is night.  Roving light in red and green filters through the cracks in my bedroom curtains, making me stir.  The colours play over my eyelids; I turn, semi-conscious, onto my side and feel my sweat-soaked hair cool and wet against my forehead.

I open my eyes.

For a long moment my brain works to interpret the play of prismatic light that pierces the humid darkness.  It can’t work it out: what could be green, shining through my curtains, and what could be red, in the middle of the night…?

First my right leg, then my left swings out from under the duvet.  My hypersensitive feet touch the gnarl of the old carpet; I flex my toes.  Then, walking towards the window with rainbow hues dancing an aurora on my bare chest, I breathe deeply with a twitch of anxiety between my lungs.

I open the curtains.  I feel my eyes strain in their sockets.  On the other side of the grimy glass the back garden is illuminated like a surrealist’s mixing palette: a low forest of herbs, the rough corners of a boundary hedge, and a garden shed with windows reflecting the celestial drama high above:

The sky is full of light and colour.  Where usually I would see only a smattering of pale, twinkling stars, I see now an immense array of pinks and greens, swirling across the heavens in thick gaseous swathes.  A centrepiece is the moon, but it is broken: shattered into a genuine crescent with splinters of pale rock still lingering in the primary orb’s diminished gravity. 

Dominating the sky is a half-risen planet, its diameter spanning the width of the horizon, a purplish-brown bloated monster.  It looms, surrounded by wisps of galactic mist and those meteoroids unfortunate enough to get caught in its massive fields yet lucky enough to survive, locked in endless complicated orbits.  Diaphanous swipes of frozen space-ice form broken rings around this fearsome dome, with stars shining through the thinner ribbons from behind.   This planet seems close enough to reach out and touch.

All around, broken pieces of shattered asteroids and distant moons plummet through the atmosphere.  They burn with low, scraping rumbles, the sound of massive engines.  As the scorched segments break up in the intense crucible of light and heat they flare up suddenly in blinding displays of orange and white.

It is the end of the world.  The universe has slipped into a jumbled chaos, drawn into itself, and the effects of this cataclysm are evident in the unravelling atmosphere of Earth that disappears from the stratosphere into cold space, letting in the biting teeth of frozen vacuum.   

I see all this from my bedroom window, and observe the microscopic fragments of human civilization rushing upward through the sucking tear in the atmosphere. 

The devastation sweeps closer, and the gargantuan planet grows larger as though on a collision course with our barely significant planet, and all is dwarfed by its relentless approach: heat and colour and the bass trembling of objects much larger than I colliding in boundless space.

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So ages ago the Earth was formed, and it wobbled on an axis like a skewered apple as it caromed around the Sun at about 450 miles per second.  Sometimes it is tilted towards the Sun’s roasting, UV-rich cocktail of radiation; sometimes it’s tilted away from it.  Inbetween there’s a moment, twice a year, when it’s bang upright.  This is the equinox.

Some time after the formation of our happy little planet the moon was created, maybe captured by Earth’s gravity as it flew past through space, maybe we got hit by something and all the debris spun off and formed that big ball of rock we see in the sky every now and again.  Anyway, the moon exists (hooray) and it goes around and around us, around and around, and sometimes our shadow blocks the light from the Sun so that it looks like a huge bite has been taken out of it.  Sometimes it’s at just the right angle to be fully illuminated.  This is, as everybody knows, a full moon.

The moon takes around 29 days to do a full cycle, from full to the barest sliver and back again.  We call this a month, roughly speaking, and for convenience we divide this into four weeks, and those into seven days, ending in Sunday.

The Earth on its eternal wobble hits its first Equinox in the Spring and the moon swings round goes from waxing to full and the week goes on until it gets to Sunday and for some insane reason we call this Easter.

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If you didn’t know the original of the Easter holiday, let me enlighten you.  Easter Sunday about 2,000 years ago was the day that all rabbits were venerated as the hoarders and gracious distributors of all the world’s chocolate.  This had come about during prehistoric times as part of a covenant between the giant Cretaceous Hares and the lizard-men who were the descendants of dinosaurs and the precursor to mankind as we know it today.  No-one likes to break tradition so we let the rabbits keep the chocolate and we bribe them annually with good cheer in exchange for some of the ‘brown silk’.

Centuries later, Renaissance man discovered that keeping domestic chickens had its advantages.  By feeding chickens certain types of corn and grain, they could manipulate the egg-development cycle to produce a new palette of flavours.  Excited, they naturally tried every type of feed under the Sun and then various other substances.

Around this time, the conquest of South American was reaping its rewards for English explorers.  One of these explorers was Thomas Cadbury, who had returned with chocolate bartered from the Mayans in exchange for sexual favours.  For decades this was the preferred method of obtaining chocolate, and even now some women find a sexual pleasure in consuming cocoa products (try it, it works).

Of course, you’re putting two and two together yourselves.  The raw cocoa product was fed to the chickens, and in 1701 the first chocolate egg was produced.

Over time, the process was refined by chocolatiers in France, and in later centuries, by scientists in America.  Certain foodtypes could only ever produce tiny, regular-sized eggs.  Caramel and white goop, for instance, may only be fed to chickens in small quantities, because caramel is toxic to poultry in certain concentrations.  The white goop they just don’t like very much.

But chocolate in isolation, it was discovered, could be used like magic to produce giant eggs, provided the chicken was big enough.  The first large chocolate egg (normally referred to as “a £10-er”) was made to great cheer in 1924, probably before you were born, so don’t bother looking it up.  This was in the days before genetic modification, and so the only way to make a giant chicken was to cross-breed it with a hippopotamus or elephant.  Right up until 1990, chickopotami were the preferred methods to obtain giant chocolate eggs.

Finding these solid eggs to dense to properly consume, the feed was soon altered to generate hollow eggs, which allowed for a certain commercial benefit.  They could be filled with all kinds of treats, like cigarettes or semolina.

The conveyor-belt approach to the new Easter was deplored by the rabbits.  Early peace talks broke down rapidly, any remaining good will dissolving into the first World War Wabbit in 1927.  Further treaties were reversed in 1945 after splinter cells, mainly hares, tried once again to destroy the egg factories in Minnesota, and the Californian chickolotami farms.   American troops reluctantly introduced the Myxoma virus to wild rabbit populations in Spring 1946, settling the matter.

Today, the Easter holiday generates over 130 billion pounds for the economy, mainly through chocolate eggs.  Domesticated (or subjugated) rabbits are still revered in the Easter Parade in London, and other capital cities around the world, where members of Parliament dress in rabbit costumes and hop to Buckingham Palace.

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Someone told be a less believable story about some dude who was strung up and died and then woke up again in a cave and moved this massive rock by himself and was like a god or something … but I reckon they’re full of shit.

–db