Never the Same Again

Post image for Never the Same Again

May 1, 2008

Two Austrian brothers marvel at the alien but wondrous world we take for granted. It was hidden from them. Until now their world was a cellar, a makeshift prison. The warden? Their father.

One of the boys, 5-year-old Felix Fritzl, asks upon seeing the moon for the first time:

Is that God up there?

How can the moon ever look the same to me again? This thought leads to a memory: when I was Felix’s age, my father read an 1889 bedtime poem to my two brothers and me. We heard it many times, never tiring of the words. Even at that age, I could tell he relished reading them, delighting in their power to cast us adrift toward our nether worlds of sleep.

Wynkyen, Bynken, and Nod, one night sailed off in a wooden shoe;
Sailed off on a river of crystal light into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going and what do you wish?” the old moon asked the three.
“We’ve come to fish for the herring fish that live in this beautiful sea.
Nets of silver and gold have we,” said Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song as they rocked in the wooden shoe.
And the wind that sped them all night long ruffled the waves of dew.
Now the little stars are the herring fish that live in that beautiful sea;
“Cast your nets wherever you wish never afraid are we!”
So cried the stars to the fishermen three – Wynken, and Blynken, and Nod.

I hope Felix’s memories begin with the moon and the sense of awe he and his brother bask in as they discover a new and better world. But I’m certain their hellish past will intrude like a rip tide.

Thinking about the moon leads to a trail of Google links. It ends at sage words, a Mark Twain character’s utterance that snaps me out of my reverie:

Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.

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