Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Distance of the Moon

Twin B got me talking and thinking about the moon the other night, and specifically requested that I put "Moon, story, kid," into a "search engine." Which brought me to this, quite possibly the single most beautiful, trippy thing I have ever found on the internet. A stop animation film, based on Italo Calvino's The Distance of the Moon. The subtitles are hard to read, so I transcribed.
At one time, according to Sir George H. Darwin,
the moon was very close to the Earth.
The the tides gradually pushed her far away:
the tides that the moon herself causes in the Earth's water.
where the Earth slowly loses energy.

There were times when the full moon was so low,
and the tide was so high,
that the moon almost got wet from the sea water.

There were quite a few of us.
The Captain. My deaf cousin. Ms. Vhd Vhd. And me.
And sometimes little Xithix, she was twelve or so at that time.
What in the world we went up on the moon for?
Ahh ... we went to collect the moon milk.

The moon milk was very thick. It was composed chiefly of
vegetal juices, tadpoles, pollen, worms,
mineral salts and combustion residue,
not in the pure state, obviously,
after filtering it, some bodies remained:
fingernails, cartilage, nails, seahorses,
at times even a comb.

This is the story of how my love for that woman began.
Shortly I realized whom the lady kept looking at insistently.
In her eyes I could read the thoughts,
that the deaf man's familiarity with the moon were arousing in her.

And when he disappeared in his mysterious lunar explorations,
I saw her become restless. And then it was all clear to me.
How Ms. Vhd Vhd was becoming jealous of the moon.
And how I was jealous of my cousin.

"This time I want to go up there too," said the lady.
"Did you see him," she asked?
My cousin was deeply busy doing his things.
He did not notice anything other than the moon, his true love.

Surely there was something strange about that night.
What's happening? The moon is going away.
"Where's the lady," I shouted.
The lady had also tried to jump like the deaf.
But she was still only floating a few yards from the moon.
Without thinking, I climbed up quickly,
and held her harp out toward her so she can grasp it.

I should have been happy.
At last, she and I alone, away from everything.
Now, I thought to myself, I'll enjoy her being close to me.
Just like the deaf and the Moon who made me so jealous.

A month of days and lunar nights stretched before us,
We faced deep oceans, deserts of glowing lapill, continents of ice,
rocky walls of mountain chains, gashed by deep rivers,
swampy cities, stone graveyards and empires of clay and mud.

I thought only of the Earth, the world we came from,
Up there, it was as if I were no longer that I, nor she that she.
I was eager to return to the Earth, and trembled at the fear of having lost it.

But she? nothing. She felt nothing.
She never raised her eyes to our old planet.
She had probably realized that my cousin loved only the moon.

When the Moon had completed its circling of the planet,
I found myself in the same position again.
I couldn't believe how we drew away.
Our boat looked so tiny.

Suddenly, my cousin, it couldn't have been anyone else.
He was so in love with the moon.
And if the moon now tended to go away from him
then he would take delight in this separation, just as, til now,
he had delighted in the Moon's nearness.

And I? I didn't hesitate anymore.

Ahh ... finally. My eyes gazed at the Moon, forever beyond my reach, as I sought her.
I saw her there, or it seemed so, where I had left her.
She was all alone.

That's how I remember her even today,
When the moon has become that remote flat circle,
I still look for her.
And when the Moon is full the dogs are howling all night long,
and I'm with them, silently.

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