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My Solitudes : Print #3 : The Seacoast in Summer

"... And on a sudden impulse, I remember my binoculars, dig them out of their pouch, open the tent flap wide, and lie back on the mattress to steady my head and arms as I peer up into the sky to see what she looks like - close up.

"And now again, as I have many times before in my essays, and will many times in the future, again I have to bemoan my sorry writing skills. How can I find any words to describe to you what I saw up there in the sky? I can say at once though, that during the remaining travels for this little diary of four seasons in a few solitary places, if I were to discover nothing more of interest, nothing at all, then this project would still have been an outstanding success. Because tonight, I saw the moon, and in fifty-odd years on this planet, I have never seen it before. I think there are two kinds of people reading these words: one group, the amateur astronomers, who know very well just what I saw there in the sky, and who are smiling in compassion at my inability to describe what I saw, and then all the rest of you, who are reading these words in a general incomprehension. ...

"It is a sphere! Not a flat, silver-coloured disk stuck onto a flat black backdrop, but a gorgeous spherical silver orb floating in a deep velvety black cavern. Now I understand what that word 'orb' means! This moon is as fully round and textured as any ball that you can hold in your hands. Think of the difference between a coin and a ball. Do you have a good impression of this difference in your mind? The flatness of one, and the sphericity of the other? Well that thing hanging up there in the sky is a sphere! Of course I knew this intellectually, I knew that men have even flown around it, have walked on its surface, but now I know what shape it is. Now I know that it really is another world, hovering there in space in partnership with this one on which we live. "