The sun went to bed one night and felt more tired than usual. He said to himself, “Oh my, I may sleep for a hundred years if no one comes to wake me in the morning! I had better send a note to the moon!” He scribbled a hasty note to the moon, sent it with a flying star across the sky, and laid his heavy head down on his golden pillow. He started to snore at once. The light in the sky went out. The world was in darkness.
When the star met the moon to give her the sun’s note, he noticed she was in a crabby mood because she was waning gibbous. The star got nervous and flew past. He never knew what to do with moody women, so he turned his tail and ran away like a coward. The moon saw the flying star skitter past, and she tried to call out to see what he was doing, but he flew so fast she didn’t even get a chance to speak.
“Men,” scoffed the moon, feeling more and more full of herself as she waned. She climbed up the dark sky, sending her own kind of light over the snow. Her light was blue and dotted with shiny pinpoints of starlight. She saw the vast hungry world below her, empty of the plants and animals of spring and summer, desolate compared to the frenzy of fall. She breathed a long, cool, slow breath and watched the vapor chill and condense in the almost darkness.
The moon relaxed. She didn’t feel so crabby anymore. She liked her brand of silence and calm. She liked how all the chattering birds settled down when she rose, and how the nighttime pollinators sent forth navigational sounds only she and they could hear. She liked how the world stopped yammering when she rose. She listened to the rhythmic sounds of crickets and frogs, and thought about how much better they sounded than the random clatter of daytime noises. She hummed to herself softly in the dark.
As the moon happily dreamed, night went on and on and on. Some of the stars began to grow tired and flicker. Some of the frogs started to get sore throats. Some of the crickets started to get chafed membranes on their wings. Most of the plants started to worry and fret and feel hungry, craving daylight and photosynthesis.
The night went on and on. Seeds stayed hidden in their seed-coats and didn’t sprout. Roosters waited for a glimmer on the horizon, and didn’t crow. Moths and butterflies hung in their chrysalises, waiting for the light to emerge before they would hatch and fly away.
Humans with their alarm clocks were the only creatures up and running when the usual time of morning came, although it was still night. The humans ignored the dark, or complained about it, or got on the TV and said it was the apocalypse, but not one of the humans acted like it was nighttime.
Well, this made the moon very cranky again. She looked at the humans scurrying and worrying and hurrying through her lovely darkness, and she could not believe what she saw. Here she was, up in the sky, glowing and waning and laying her gift of cool silence over the havoc of day, and all the humans could do was ignore her. She was almost full, she was ready to burst, and she was not going to take it anymore. She inhaled the little bit of warm air remaining in the world, and exhaled it cold.
Everything started to freeze. Streets and houses were covered in ice. The humans slid around in their boots and cars and some of them went slower, but they didn’t stop. Snow started to fall, but they dug it up. Wind would blow down their shutters and fences, but they would venture out and nail them up again.
The moon was outraged by their defiance, so she let her storm clouds cover her own light and the light of the stars. The skies were black. The humans feared winter would never end. Snow piled higher and higher. Ice caked thicker and thicker. In the glow of the streetlamps, trees and shrubs looked tired and gray, and the evergreens seemed to wilt. As the color drained from every person’s face, a quiet pall replaced the human’s chatter.
The moon sighed and stretched and thought, “Now I can finally have some peace!” She listened to the silence around her. She listened to the faint murmur of the frozen earth. She listened closely, and felt satisfied with her work.
Gradually she began to notice a sound unlike any sound she had heard before. It was a horrible sound. It was far away, but once the moon heard it she could not get it out of her head. It kept repeating itself, and it sounded like a table saw, a whisper, and a snort. The moon had to find the noise and stop it. She went all over the sky, she went to each end of the earth, and finally she went below the horizon where the sun lay sleeping.
“Men!” she shoved the sun disdainfully. He woke mid-snort, and leapt out of bed. “Oh my!” he said. “Oh my, I’ve overslept! It must be June by now!” He raced around grabbing his sun coat and his sun hat and his sun smart phone and ran out the door to get to the sky as fast as he could. He called out as he ran, “Oh dear! You must never let me sleep that late again!”
The moon put her cool head on the golden pillow and smiled. Tomorrow night she would be full.