When we began our off-grid adventure two years ago. one of the things we were really looking for was to live “closer to nature”. What that meant exactly I don’t think we knew back then, and so far what it has turned out to be was not what we expected.
I decided to write this blog post to document some of the ways I think nature has become more integral to our lives now that we are living our permaculture dreams. I’m also hoping that perhaps by reading this, someone who hasn’t had the same privileges and opportunities that I have had in being able to pursue a more natural lifestyle, will be encouraged to seek out those little things that remind us of our place in the universe.
Part One: The Moon
The moon: there’s nothing like the big old cheese to remind us that we are celestial beings, that we are living in a world that stretches far beyond the sky, and that we are connected to the wider universe for the very simple fact that it has an effect on us. When you live out in the country, where there are no artificial lights whatsoever for miles and miles and miles, not only can you see the Milky Way so close it seems as though you should be able to catch a bus there, the moon is really big and really bright. When the moon is full it is like a sun in the night-time, you can read a book outside at 1am (I’ve tried it!) and it casts a shadow darker than any you see in the day. I never get tired of that magical feeling I get when I walk outside in the middle of the night and everything is illuminated in that white light, I feel like I’m in a black and white film.
When I lived in the U.K. I can honestly say I don’t think I ever noticed the moon – the combination of never ending grey clouds, heavy pollution, and multi-storey housing that shrank the horizon into the size of a postage stamp made it so that the moon meant literally nothing to me. Now it is part of our everyday lives; we get better sleep when the moon is full because all the rodents and insects are quiet and hiding from eagle-eyed predators. When we’re expecting guests or volunteers, one of the first things we always do is check ahead to see what the moon will be like when they arrive, as it plays such a big part in the drama of their first night. If there’s no moon or a small moon, then the Milky Way will mostly likely be visible in astonishing clarity. If the moon is full then you are treated to its beauty arcing across the valley and casting its eerie glow.
The moon has always been a part of human cultures no matter where in the world they are. To be a moon gazer is so natural and so human, I think it’s very sad that we no longer have time for pondering this beautiful satellite of ours. You can use the internet to find out more about the current phase of the moon and also where to look in the sky and at what time. Sometimes it doesn’t appear until very late but you won’t regret making a regular date with luna and building a connection with the sky above you. Soon you will begin to notice other planets and stars, and from there you can start to feel at home in your landscape, something I think we all want a bit more of.