Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Upon reflection: Once in a blue moon

The moon also rises.

The painting of a tiny Thai jungle village set against snow-tipped blue mountains in our casita has gained a full moon.

The moon wasn’t there yesterday.

And it was not there when Rose Alcantara acquired the painting on the island of Koh Samui, off Thailand, many many years ago. (She doesn’t want to think of how many.)

It is a charming and primitive scene of four red-tiled peaked-roof houses, painted in bright tropical colors. A red-dirt road curves through the settlement. Flowers of many colors encroach on the green grass yards, pushed in by the encroaching jungle. A rickety fence or two and an ancient wooden cart enhance the setting.

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Crossword clue: ‘It might send you to the moon’ and your answer is …

In a crossword puzzle today:

“It might send you to the moon”

Horizontal. Four letters.

So obvious. I wrote in 


+ + + + +

But LOVE is thwarted by insensitive vertical clues

That have nothing to do with love:

“Some shortcuts for ships” CANALS

“Body position in yoga” ASANA

“Great ___ National Park” BASIN

“Brand of figure-shaping underwear” SPANX

+ + + + +

For a flight to the moon,

The crossword’s answer

Is pretty pedestrian. (Especially after

Spanx and asana which, come to think of it,

May have something to do with love.)

Perhaps songwriters and poets should create

Our nation’s crossword puzzle clues.

+ + + + +

Love, of course, is all you need.

Love will send you to the moon.

But romantic metaphors, apparently,

Have no place in a Wednesday

New York Times Crossword Puzzle.

+ + + + +

Although, the clue for 57 down,

“Middle of many metaphors,”

Suggests somebody knows something

About figures of speech.

If not love.

+ + + + +

That answer, to 57 down, sadly,

Is not LOVE, either.

It is only three letters: ISA

Really, only two words, “IS A” 

+ + + + +

ISA, as in …

He is a car wreck waiting to happen.

Her love is a one-way trip to the moon.

He is a puddle of mush when she walks into the room.

Their love is a three-ring circus.

+ + + + +

ISA is an “ugh …”

(Also three letters, but not an answer.)

I don’t want and ugh. I want a hug.

I want better. I want more.

I want LOVE to send us to the moon.

Even in a Wednesday crossword puzzle.

+ + + + +

But if LOVE doesn’t, or can’t,

Send us to the moon

Because things get in the way, like,

Canals, yoga, tight underwear and national parks

What will?

+ + + + +

A very important question

These days:

What sends you to the moon?

What keeps you from taking a trip to the moon?

Use as many letters and metaphors as you wish.


‘To see ourselves as riders on the earth together…’


Apollo 8 astronaut William A. Anders took this celebrated shot of the Earth “rising” on Christmas Eve in 1968. NASA photo

Fifty years ago, when man landed on the moon, The New York Times turned to a poet, Archibald MacLeish, to place the event into some sort of context on its front page.

Seven months earlier, when the astronauts of Apollo 8 had become, on Christmas Eve, the first humans to enter the moon’s orbit, Archibald MacLeish also interpreted the meaning of it all for the Times, but in prose.

He referred to humankind as “brothers,” as was common then. If you overlook that, his concluding paragraph is profound:

“To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold — brothers who know now they are truly brothers.”

I pray that when we next visit the moon, it will be for the benefit of all humankind and not the personal glorification of one.