From the time I was a baby I’ve loved the moon. My parents told stories of me standing in my crib, slapping the wall in the middle of the night and calling out, “Where’d the moon go? Where’d the pretty moon go?”
They finally moved my crib beside the window so I could lift the curtains and see for myself, and so they could get a decent night’s sleep. My father calls me his Moonchild, and I’m still fascinated to the point that my vacations are usually planned around the full moon.
I awoke this morning thinking of a haiku by Mizuta Masahide, a 17th century samurai and poet. I contemplated it daily when I first became ill. It spoke to my inherent optimism, reminding me not to focus on my losses.
Barn’s burnt down
now I can see
The moon and her phases are nature’s way of showing us how life waxes and wanes. Masahide’s simple haiku is a profound metaphor for dealing with loss or change of any kind:
- loss of your good health
- becoming an empty-nester
- moving from a home you’ve loved
- change in jobs
- death of a loved one
We will all have barns burn down, but remembering they’re part of the cycle of life, and realizing we have a choice how we view it will make all the difference in the quality of our lives.
“And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plow, lose my land… yes if I ever lose my hands, I won’t have to work no more.” Moonshadow by Cat Stevens. It certainly seems more graphic than I remember when singing along with it’s catchy melody back in the 70’s, but it speaks to our ability to see the Moon.
We all know women who have risen from the ashes, and we admire them. Rightfully so. They found inner-strengths and gifts they didn’t know they had, illuminated in the moonlight. Masahide’s haiku is about optimism, but it’s also about choice – where we focus our attention – on the Moon, or on the barn. My suggestion… Look up at the Moon.