Like other earthlings who heard about the appearance of a supermoon for Monday the fourteenth of November this year, I was more than thrilled to observe the event, seeing that it’s been more than seven decades since the moon had come this close to earth, and would take another two decades or more to see the likes, even though this is the second of three supermoons expected for this year. But like that awkward moment when you’ve done everything to stay up to see your favorite TV series, only to fall asleep and wake up immediately after, it totally skipped my mind and I missed the whole day and night of observation for the supermoon.
It was in fact the next day after work while strolling along the streets of Ikoyi, Lagos that I by chance looked back and saw a larger than life moon. The biggest I’d ever observed while wondering how large it could’ve been the day before when it was truly expected. In my excitement I IM’ed a colleague asking her to look out of her car window to see the moon, and another friend in the UK to know if he observed it. It turned out that she didn’t see my IM until later when only a shrunk moon was on display after losing much of its acquired size to the passage of time, while my UK friend had waited up to observe on the right day, and the next (after my IM) but unfortunately couldn’t see any moon because of the cloudy skies of autumnal London. I wanted so much to share with people what I saw that night, so I quickly took a picture of the supermoon with my phone, but was disappointed with the resolution. Apparently, only cameras with powerful zoom lenses will do a job one could be proud of when it comes to taking pictures of celestial bodies.
As if my friend felt my frustration and disappointment, he sent me pictures of the appearance of the supermoons as observed, against monuments and landmarks, ancient and modern elsewhere in the world. Of these, none intrigued me more like the supermoon appearing to be taking a peep behind a pyramid and a sphinx below it in Egypt, taken by Marco Carmassi last year. The picture became an instant hit for me that I quickly replaced my phones’ wallpaper picture which had hitherto been of a LIVE 3D Earth and Moon in constant rotation and revolution. It must’ve been the in-your-face situation the picture has been to me for the past few days that sowed the seed of my writing this tonight, as I set my eyes once again on the beauty of the scenery, with gratitude for the one who was fortunate enough to properly situate the relationship between that celestial body and terrestrial marvel at that opportune time.
I can only imagine how ancient Egyptians would’ve interpreted that awesome sight eons ago. Omens and auguries would be falling over each other, and if a child, even a prince was fortunate to be born that night, his divinity would’ve been assured and remained eternally unquestioned, and if a commoner, such would’ve been thought to be ominous, and if per chance one other extraordinary thing relates to his birth, would be thought to be one who will lead a charmed life. The Pharaohs of Egypt would have exploited this, as validation of their rule by the Gods, whose priests would certainly be further enriched owing to the sheer magnitude in size of offerings that will grace the magnificent temples of ancient Egypt as presented by the commoners, nobility and royalty, each according to what they can afford. Unfortunately, it may be a sad time for slaves and outcasts and their likes, whose blood may have to be shed to appease or thank the Gods, as the case may be, depending on the interpretation of the supermoons’ most unusual appearance at the time.
But what do I know, maybe the people of ancient Egypt despite been awed by the spectacle, will treat it just the same way we have today, going about their normal business. Though it is hard to imagine that a society that lived by reading meanings into earthly and celestial phenomena will totally ignore a supermoon. It is even possible to find societies in our day who will find the supermoon ominous and go further to determine and predict our times with it, regardless of whether or not they’d be considered primitive. I have noted it, and will definitely link it with events that occurred around the time, as my culture once permitted before the advent of the streamlined and internationalized calendar. For now, I can only hope to see the next supermoon, better equipped to produce a pictorial masterpiece that will either match this one over Egypt’s pyramid and sphinx, or surpass it.