She dashed out the side door, juggling her helmet and reflective vest, hopped on her bike, and settled in. She checked the time to be sure she rode the full hour. 5:04 am.
“Just me and the stars,” she said, glancing up at the midnight blue sky and noting with pleasure the sliver of the waning crescent moon, her favorite. Her eyes shifted to bright object on the left. “And there it is,” she whispered. A comet visible to the naked eye.
“Stars not cars!” was her biking motto. Off she went, pedaling like a bat out of heck through the empty city streets.
He saw the stranger approaching again, and this time, he made the decision to speak.
“Care to join me?” he said.
A bit surprised but open to the idea, the stranger replied, “Yes, thank you.”
“It’s my celestial front porch.”
The stranger smiled appreciatively. “I like your view.”
“Mmm… me, too.” He glanced at the stranger out of the corner of his eye and decided he looked familiar. “What’s your label?”
“Neowise. What’s yours?”
“Ah… I remember you,” said Neowise. “It’s been a while.”
“It has! I thought that we’d met before. Everyone remembers your tail,” said the Moon.
“My tail is magnificent,” acknowledged Neowise with a proud nod. “They even said so in the newspapers!” He was just a little bit vain.
“Are you here for a while?”
“No, just passing through.”
“I thought you’d say that,” replied the Moon.
“How are things there?” asked Neowise, nodding at the beautiful blue globe in front of them.
“On Earth?” asked the Moon. There was a long pause followed by a faint sigh. “A short time ago, an author penned the words, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…’ Every instant in every country, in every home, in every heart – it is the best of times and the worst of times. They have yet to fully embrace this human reality.”
“A lot has happened since I’ve been gone?”
“Indeed, it has.” The Moon appeared thoughtful. “In fact, last time we met, were the dinosaurs running around like banshees?”
“I think they’d come and gone,” replied Neowise.
“Mmm…,” said the Moon, a sound he made when he was thinking. “Let’s see. In a nutshell, there have been revolutions, occupations, guillotines, wars, riots, overthrows, nuclear war, death camps, pandemics, an industrial movement. And yet, throughout it all, there has been much goodness.”
“So they are definitely in Level 1,” observed Neowise.
“Absolutely,” agreed the Moon, “However, what they keep forgetting is that how they respond to the worst of times is what creates the best of times. They lose some of the wisdom.”
“Do they remember the heroes?” asked Neowise.
The Moon shook his head, “Not often enough. Pity, as they offer such great examples of what could be. On the other hand, forgotten heroes are the norm.”
“I remember a quote by a woman author… something to do with the many contributions of hidden lives who rest in unvisited tombs,” mused Neowise.
“Mmm… I like that.”
They paused, pondering the many facets of human behavior and how little things change over time.
“Oh, get this!” the Moon added, with a chortle, “They started space exploration!”
“Get out!” said Neowise. “Where did they go?”
“Here!” cried the Moon with a big belly laugh.
“They built these rockets and sent up a couple of guys to land on me,” the Moon explained. “They made it by the skin of their teeth. Then, they bounced around a bit, planted the Stars and Stripes, and left.”
“What did you do?”
“Well,” said the Moon, “I thought about some hijinks but decided against it. We want to encourage their development, you know.”
“What sort of hijinks?” Neowise had a mischievous side.
“I considered rolling some rocks, shooting up some puffs of smoke, or shaking my surface, but I think it would have scared them to death.”
“That would have been hilarious!”
“I was so tempted!” agreed the Moon. “But many benefits came of their accomplishment – all sorts of inventions. It was for the best that I let them be. There is a space station flying around here somewhere.”
“Sounds like there is still an opportunity for some solar shenanigans?” asked Neowise in a hopeful tone.
“There is, but now is not the time,” said Moon.
“Mmm…” said Moon.
“Hey, look at the girl riding like mad through the streets!” said Neowise.
“She does that daily, always starting with a glance up our way. She likes the stars.”
“What is she doing?”
“She’s thinking. She’s a people problem solver.”
“Wow, that’s different.”
“She helps people find their power and purpose so that they can overcome obstacles and contribute fully to the universe.”
“Ah,” said Neowise. “She knows the Cosmic Success Platform?”
“I don’t think so,” replied Moon. “But she’s on the right track. There are many roadblocks.”
“Such as?” asked Neowise.
“The big ones right now are race, politics, and a tendency to blame everyone but yourself. She sees possible solutions, but people are entrenched in their views.”
Neowise’s eyebrows shot up. “Is she in Level 2?”
“No,” said Moon, shaking his head. “We’ve sent messengers, as you know, but not everyone is ready to hear it.”
“Are you considering a planetary intervention?”
“Unlikely,” said the Moon. “They have to work through it themselves. We can help, but we won’t force it.”
“How do you know she’s on the right track?” asked Neowise. He was a curious comet.
“When she speaks to her clients,” replied the Moon, “she shares that if her own race, gender, age, or belief in God is an issue for them, then they are not ready for her program. In fact,” added the Moon. “I heard her tell a hockey team, ‘If a Martian walked in here and has the talent to think about the future, we will put that Martian to work! Harvesting every ounce of talent on the team is essential so that we reach our full potential. Everyone adds value.’”
“Ha ha!” laughed Neowise. “A Martian adding value! That’s funny.”
“Right?” said the Moon with a knowing chuckle. “We like that her program minimizes the Us vs Them trap that groups fall into.”
“Is it working?” asked Neowise.
“It makes a dent,” said Moon. “It’s hard to get traction with so much turmoil. They will eventually have to work together to solve these enormous problems to prove they are ready to move to Level 2.”
“Will HQ tell her about Level 2?”
“Not yet. Maybe never. However, if she were aware that soon, a person’s race, gender, role, and country can be morphed every single day, I think she would be pleased. It would solve a lot of the problems so deeply sourced in those parameters.” The Moon sounded dispirited.
“Do you believe there is a chance they won’t reach Level 2?” asked Neowise.
“I used to think the odds were 50/50,” replied Moon. “Now, I think it’s more like 40/60, and declining. If only they could see themselves from up here.”
“Perspective is so helpful,” murmured Neowise. “I hope they make it. There’s so much opportunity for growth in Level 2.”
“True,” agreed Moon. “But we know from experience that once humans can regularly mutate their skin color, eye color, role in society – which includes the associated responsibilities – they often decide to remain exactly who and where they are.”
“Fear of change is a powerful force,” agreed Neowise. “The removal of the skin-deep factors leaves them with the reality that their pot of gold is within. That’s when the growth really begins.”
“Exactly,” said Moon. “She insists that we are all sparks of the divine, no more, no less. She talks about purpose a lot, along with challenges and fears that must be overcome. Every person is different, and she loves that about her work. Her purpose is to help others accomplish what they were put on Earth to achieve.”
“That sounds like Level 2 thinking,” said Neowise.
A soft smile played about the Moon’s warm face. “Personally, she believes that the universe is like one big puzzle and that every person is an important piece of the puzzle. She is of the mindset that mankind will continue to struggle until everyone understands their internal gifts and leverages them to have a positive impact on the universe. She’s building momentum with like-minded individuals. More momentum than she knows.”
“When will Earth reach its full potential?”
“When they realize that being human is an individual experience,” explained The Moon. “Even when people seem to have much in common, they will live extraordinarily unique lives with contextual challenges, joys, successes and failures. Then, amplify that by geography. A child in New Mexico has a different experience than a child born in Ireland or Nigeria or Taiwan. Being human cannot be reduced to a single, universal, common experience. All of life is a struggle for everyone because it is always the best of times and the worst of times. Each must follow their own path to fulfillment. Until they embrace these truths, they will remain stuck in the mud – where they are.”
“Are you saying that their variation is what they have in common, and they need to harness it to solve their challenges rather than see it as a flaw to be removed?” queried Neowise.
“Why, Neowise!” exclaimed the Moon. “That’s very wise of you!”
“Every squirrel finds a nut eventually,” replied Neowise with a wink. “Back to this purpose idea. What’s yours?”
Moon pondered for a moment before replying. “Hope. Belief. When people look to me, I want them to feel hope and believe in something bigger than themselves.”
“What’s your biggest fear about humans?”
“Meanness,” replied the Moon. “It is the depth of their meanness that worries me. They are extraordinarily mean to one another over the smallest of infractions. And some would rather kill than hear a different point of view. There is this mess called social media… The meanness makes me want to give up and leave them to themselves.”
“They have a long way to go,” said Neowise.
“They do,” agreed Moon. “Hey,” he said, changing the subject, “What’s your purpose, Neowise?”
“I’m an adventurer and explorer! My purpose is to find new worlds.”
Moon nodded in approval. “And your biggest fear?”
“Orbiting! It is déjà vu all over again!” replied Neowise, with just a hint of frustration. “My fear is that I’ll never visit any other galaxy.”
“Perhaps, because you do move with such speed, you’re missing something The Big Guy Upstairs wants you to see and understand,” offered the wise Moon. “They may not alter your path until you slow down and figure out what that is.”
“Hmm!” said Neowise. “I will have to think about that! Thank you!”
The indigo sky began to gently transition to a warm shade of peach.
“Sun’s coming up,” observed the Moon.
“Will you be here tomorrow?” asked Neowise. He was enjoying the company.
“No,” replied the Moon. “I come and go in phases. Will you be here Thursday?”
“No,” sighed Neowise regretfully. “I will be long gone by then.”
“It was good to catch up,” said the Moon.
“I’ll be back again before you know it,” said Neowise, “And when I return, what do you think we’ll see on Earth?”
“I think we’ll see the best of times and the worst of times,” said the Moon, with a philosophical smile.
“I bet you’re right,” said Neowise.
The Moon became increasingly faint, and whispered, “I guess we’d better call it a day, huh?”
She whipped into her driveway, and peered toward the heavens, hoping to get one last glimpse of her celestial friends. They were there, barely visible in the pale honey sky. She lowered her kickstand, removed her helmet, and lifted her gaze again. They were gone. She glanced at her watch. It was 6:04 exactly. She entered the house with a quick step, eager to get to her computer. There was that lacrosse team in North Carolina that was struggling to get everyone on the same page…
I hope you enjoyed my little work of celestial fiction. Thank you for making it this far!
Special shout out to my dear friend, Ray Tolomeo, for sharing his talent with us. A former Marine, he now works for NASA. Here’s a link to his website.