Sunbeams and Moonlight

Once Upon a Time…

before there were people on the Earth, there was just the land and the sea to take care of and this was done by the Sun who lived way up in the sky.

The Sun shone brightly at all hours during this time and the land soaked up his gentle rays like the richest green velvet and the sea was warm and gentle like a fine bolt of silk.

On both land and sea, creatures lived in complete contentment knowing nothing but sunlight, warmth, and prosperity. However as time passed the Sun grew wiser and his light, though still glorious, dimmed a little. It became harder to keep himself aware and slowly but surely his mind would wander. When his mind wandered, so too did Sun. This was odd because then Earth did not move, and until this time, neither did Sun.

One day Sun traveled the length of the Earth that he knew. He traveled so far, not only in thought but distance, that his light dimmed on one side of the Earth. The Sun’s travels caused a stir, to any beast or bird’s knowledge this had never happened before.

The warm earth began to cool as did the waters. A cry went up across the land as things not usually seen on Sun’s earth seemed to appear from the darkness. Though the cry came from fear, it became apparent that not many of the things from the dark were things to be scared of. Creatures that once spent their time in lazy contentment, gathering food whenever they felt the need suddenly could not see to find food and warmth as readily as before.

There were other creatures with large eyes taking advantage of the dark and filled themselves to contentment with the foods the animals in Sun’s lands enjoyed. Sun did not notice this and continued to travel lost in thought.

It came to be that the Sun eventually traveled so far that he flew over land and sea he had never seen before, sparsely covered earth, barren soil and few if any animals. Shocked Sun snapped out of his musings to discover he was in an entirely new place.

Quickly, he turned back towards the lands and seas he cared for and he saw them blanketed in dusty rose hues and burnt orange streaks. In a panic, he increased his speed of travel only to be struck dumb at a sight of something he never could have imagined on his own.

She (for how could she be as Sun was?) was the color of silver, like the sleek silvered fish of the lakes and ponds of his earth. She shone with a brilliance that only amplified when he looked upon her heavenly form.

She was the light in the dark. She was gentle, cool, and calming; everything that the fiery Sun was not.

“How is it, she shines in the darkness when all seem to bask in the warmth of my light,” Sun asked breathless staring at her distant form.

Below, a creature of creamy white and brown feathers extended its wings and shone its lamp like eyes towards the sun and said, “She is the Moon. Tonight was the first night she was able to rise from deep within the Great Darkness and see the glory of the green Earth. Always has she lived alone in the barren darkness.”

Appalled, the Sun asked the creature why this was so.

“She was not able to live in the world and go out from the Great Darkness. Your light was too bright, and too strong for her. When you began to wander she began to feel the warmth of your rays and see distantly your light. In shock she rose and is currently enjoying her first and last night on Earth.”

“Last?” Asked the sun, worry plainly visible on his face.

“Last.”’hooted the creature, adjusting itself on a gnarled branch.

“Once you return to your earth and seas she will be forced to come back here to this barren place and then descend once again into the Great Darkness, alone. Not even we, her loyal creatures can join her there. She will be alone.”

The Sun turned towards the beauty of the Moon, and saw how she glistened in this half light and turned towards the owl saying, “Where is the Great Darkness?”

“Where? This is not a place that you should go Sun. It is not just dark. It is a place where your light would not go but a few feet in front of you. None of your lands full critters or waters filled with fish could come to you. You would be alone; for no creature is brave enough to face the Darkness. It would be as if you no longer existed.” The creature said, blinking slowly, feathers puffed and talons digging into the branch below.

“The darkness does not seem to be such a bad thing, if she gets to live above my earth and seas.” The Sun said staring at the gentle Moon. “Please take me there.”

The bird rose up into the sky and flew towards the purples and blacks of night as it lead the Sun away to the Great Darkness.

The Moon, enjoying her freedom, realized with each passing minute she could travel further and further into this lovely world. After an understandable panic, creatures emerged and she was able to question them about this wonderful place. It was so warm, so colorful, so filled with things for the eyes to feast upon.

As she traveled these creatures told her about this Sun, a great bold fiery thing that lived and cared for the earth and sea. They were happy to share any and all information about him to the Moon, for they were worried.

Where had he gone? What were they to do without his light and warmth? Though she tried, the Moon could only shine so bright and there wasn’t any physical warmth that she could provide. The things of the day did not seem easy in the night.

But oh what a night! Creatures she had only imagined followed her as she traveled, seemingly born from her thoughts alone. They were more beautiful than the creatures of the day and they followed her like a mother, protector. But as the night wore on the creatures of the Sun grew weary and began to fall asleep one by one. The Moon found she was unable to wake them once they went to sleep and the creatures she imagined though regal, began to prey on the animals of the Sun. This did not sit well with the Moon who was unable to control these new creatures. Alarmed, the Moon went in search of Sun.

She met with instead a bird with glorious creamy brown wings and eyes that glowed in her light. It flew to a nearby branch and opened its beak and began to speak.

“I hear you seek the Sun.” It said, cocking its head to the side, “Why?”

“His Earth is lovely and his creatures are too, but the longer I am here the more of them that fall into slumber. Where is he? I fear they will stay asleep until there are no more left! If they slumber longer my children will eat them one by one!” She cried out to the bird her worry evident in her voice.

“Well, he has gone to the Great Darkness so you might be,” the bird said, stretching its wings once again to take flight.

Once airborne, its addressed the Moon plainly. “Of all your thoughts and dreams I was the first. I know more than all of your other beasts. As the Sun lives you cannot be.”

“Why would he do this?” Asked the Moon shocked at this admission.

“So that you may know more than darkness,” the bird replied looping up and around the moon. “Without him though your creatures and his cannot survive. The earth will turn to dust and the seas will become stagnant and life within will die.”

“Then I must, I must return to the Great Darkness so that he may return.” The Moon said with determination. “He must return to his world!”

“And what of us, Moon? Are we to return to your thoughts? You to the Great Darkness?” The creature asked leading her to a nearby thicket of trees.

“There must be another way.” The Moon said mournfully, deep in thought.

She and the great bird thought and finally came to a decision.

The bird spoke once more with the Moon and took itself to the Great Darkness, leaving her alone in the forest. There at the edge of the abyss, it called out to the Sun who listened to the problems of the Earth he had left behind.

Shocked at the turn of events, the Sun sent the bird back to the Moon with the instructions to wait and watch.

After the bird returned to the Moon, she did just that and witnessed the splendor of the sun rising in the East. Colors she never imagined lit the sky as his brilliant light filled her eyes. Closing them, she too felt mesmerized at viewing her opposite. As the Sun rose she felt her breath catch and she wavered in pain as the sun rose above the clouds.

So began the last day that night the Sun and Moon spent together. The bird tirelessly flew back and forth between the great powers with messages.

After much flying, resting and thought, it was decided that each needed equal time in the heavens.

It was apparent though they both could not be there at the same time. The pain for Moon was too great. Both were unable to open their eyes in the other’s full presence though they were far apart in distance. For the Sun shone brightly and the Moon reflected his splendor ten fold.

They also discovered both sets of animals could not coexist during the same hours. Having both celestial bodies in the sky at once, caused animals to fall asleep while flying, hunting, and gathering. If they were not falling asleep they could not leave the shade or fly above the treetops due to the light the two celestial bodies created together. As they both shone the seas rose, the waters overtaking the lands and the lands began to burn.

Though it seemed to pain them both, the Sun and the Moon decided upon a schedule to faithfully follow.

While one was up the other would hide away in the Great Darkness until their messenger, the wisest of all birds, Owl came to tell them it was time to ascend. Likewise the other would begin to descend.

This was perhaps the saddest part of the schedule, for mere minutes as one rose and the other descended they would be able to glimpse one another in the night sky, before all would go dark. Always apart but together in protecting their creatures and this beautiful world of earth and sea.

It has been many millennia and they have both faithfully kept the schedule never wavering in their devotion.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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