Is the moon necessary?

Busily reading Watership Down by Richard Adams, I came across a most interesting comment about the moon. Daylight is necessary for life, but moonlight is not necessary. The moon transforms, waxes, wanes, becomes completely obscured by clouds in a way the sunlight does not, and does not perform a necessary function.

I have to think about that one. I’m not certain I agree. I don’t know of any scientific reasons why we need the moon (but then, I’m not a scientist). There are the tides. But are tides necessary? I don’t know. The moon plays an important role in some cultures. But if we didn’t have a moon, I’m sure those cultures would find something else of importance. The moonlight certainly does come in handy sometimes, but the same could be said of a flashlight.

So, on this night when the moon rose in the east, big and yellow behind the newly bared tree limbs, and I sat in my daughters’ dark room, squinting at a thick book with small words, waiting for the girls to settle into sleep, I balked at the possibility that the moon might be only decoration. Maybe it is like good art and literature, playing a deeper role in our lives than we even know.


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