BY AMY SAYLE
Come celebrate International Observe the Moon Night with us on Saturday, September 6, 2014, at Jordan Lake. If the weather permits, Morehead will host a public skywatching session from 8 to 10 p.m. at Ebenezer Church Recreation Area.
While you’re under the moonlight by the water, you might think about this traditional Alutiiq story, “The Girl Who Married the Moon”:
Long ago, a girl and her cousin would sit on the beach and gaze at the Moon for hours as he journeyed across the sky. They both fell in love with the Moon and wanted to marry him.
The Moon said he choose as his wife the girl who was more patient. “Close your eyes,” the Moon said.
He picked up the girls by the ends of their long dark hair and began lifting them toward the sky. One girl couldn’t resist peeking before they arrived and found herself falling back to Earth and landing safely on the beach.
The more patient girl became the Moon’s wife, and she lived happily with him at first. But soon she grew lonely and bored. Her husband was often gone to do his work, and she had little to do.
Eventually, against her husband’s wishes, she entered his storeroom and discovered masks of different shapes, such as crescent, gibbous, and full. When she put on the full moon mask, it stuck to her face. She couldn’t pull it off and hid herself in bed, fearing her husband’s anger.
But when her husband returned home, he gently removed the mask from her face and agreed that from then on, the two of them should share the Moon’s work of lighting the sky. Since then, the man has carried the Moon across the sky during the first half of its cycle, and the woman carries it during the second half.
On Saturday, September 6, 2014, the phase of the Moon will be waxing gibbous, which means the husband is nearing the end of his turn lighting the sky. At the Jordan Lake skywatching session (weather permitting), we’ll provide telescopes where you can see his “mask” in lovely detail.
For a full version of the Alutiiq story, with music and artwork, watch the beautiful telling of “The Girl Who Married the Moon” created by students at Kodiak High School.
Learn more Moon stories at Morehead Planetarium later this year, on Saturday, December 6, 2014, at “Star Families: The Moon.”
Photo credit: Moon by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio