solar flare: a short burst of electromagnetic radiation.
"I'd so love to talk to the Queen of the Sun. Perhaps she can tell me even more than you about her duties in the day."
"Hmph. I doubt that." boasted the confident little girl. The Lady laughed. "But, if you're so inclined," said the girl, "why do you not approach her?"
The Lady of the Moon is gorgeous and grandiose. She is beautiful and kind, overseeing all under who lay in her pale gaze. She is watchful and diligent, wise and powerful.
Coincidentally, she is also lonely.
Her dominion is that of peace, of rest. All may sleep with her as their shepherd of slumber. That is how the cycle goes, and that is how it will go forever, and that is how it is going as of present. All know this.
Suffice to say this isn’t exactly comforting to the Lady.
It’s through her love of people that she does what she does, that her dark, graceful hand quiets the world. The world never truly falls silent, but she temporarily lets its roar fall into a hum. Even the plants need to steal away from the Sun, lest they burn. The Lady will always love this side of the world; calm and peaceful.
In the wake of silence, however, lies her thoughts. She is dutiful to her job, as she knows she must be, but it brings the inevitable isolation that comes with it. The beauty of the world in color isn’t exactly visible under the glow she radiates. It’s always paler. It’s very easy to see a still body in her moonlight and think it dead. She knows it’s not, she even checks it herself— but it still disturbed the Lady to an extent. For this, she’d sigh to herself in her night. No lovely people, no lovely animals, and no lovely flowers to watch.
It was only in this state did she hear a small child, giggling from the window of her house.
“Dear Lady!” whispered the child. “You look quite upset, miss. I could hear your huffing from my bedroom.”
The Lady, perplexed, replies. “Have I interrupted your slumber? I apologize, little one. I shall stay quiet once more.”
At her response, the girl shook her head fervently, as if the notion itself offended her. “I don’t want to sleep, miss. I’m simply enjoying my friend’s company.” At the mention of her friend, a small, scruffy dog popped from underneath her arm. His tail wagged at the wide eyes of the Moon. “Ah,” says the Lady. “I understand.”
The girl’s eyes shone with mirth. “Oh, but dear Lady,” she laughed. “I’d like to help you. You sound like something troubles you.”
The Lady paused in thought, a thumb delicately placed under her chin. It was one child, she reasoned. Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt.
And so she spoke of her ails, her isolation in the night. Her interest in flowers, birds, and in the villages she watches sleep. And so the child tells her of the flowers she passed in the last morning on the way to a well, the birds she hears sing in the afternoon, and the eccentric neighbors in the village proper.
Day came, as it always did, and the Lady bid farewell. And in the night, they met once more. And again, and again, and again.
It was easy for the Lady to be absorbed in this child’s tales, her tellings of loud beasts and summer festivals. She yearned to see them, to see the world in its waking hours. Perhaps, she wondered, she could also see the Sun amid her work. The girl’s stories certainly paint her as quite the personality. Skilled hands, warm and intelligent, crafting clouds and shining down for farmers to plant and to harvest. A beautiful face, adorned with kind eyes and a shy smile pulling at her mouth.
“Dear girl,” says the Moon one night. “I’d so love to talk to the Queen of the Sun. Perhaps she can tell me even more than you about her duties in the day.”
“Hmph. I doubt that.” boasted the confident little girl. The Lady laughed. “But, if you’re so inclined,” said the girl, “why do you not approach her?”
“She’s busy, of course. Her work is most important, overseeing growth and change. Without her, the seasons wouldn’t pass and the crops would fail to grow.” replied the Moon.
The girl made a sour face, perplexed by the Lady’s answer.
“That’s quite stupid.”
“Well,” started the Lady, only to be tutted by the child. “You mustn’t hold yourself back like so, my Lady. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind a small chat.”
Now, normally, the Lady would do no such thing. Much less at the suggestion of a child. But this child has proven herself to be witty and cunning, even if it has mostly been in the form of smart comebacks or teases. But still, thought the Moon…
“Perhaps so. I’ll try it later when we pass each other on the way to the other side of the world.”
And so she did.
The Moon and the Sun always pass each other each cycle, walking to the other side of the world to ensure each half has equal parts day and night. They had never talked, though, not so much as a word.
In retrospect, maybe that was stupid.
This time, as they walked side by side on the path that only they see, laden with celestial dust, the Moon smiled. A small gesture, friendly, and not threatening. That should invite the Sun to… react, at least.
The Queen glanced at the movement of her hand and proceeded to walk even faster.
“Wait, wait!” exclaimed the Lady. Her dress swayed with her frantic movement as she followed the Sun. “Prithee, stay a while, I simply wanted to greet you, my friend.”
My friend? Prithee? She was the Lady of the Moon, bringer of night and watcher of slumber, how is it that she feels so unlike herself in this very moment?
“Um, alright. I apologize, it’s just,” said the Sun, eyes darting to the side. “You caught me off-guard. We have not talked before. I previously assumed you weren’t inclined to talk to me, seeing as how you must be busy.”
“No, not at all.” reassured the Moon. “I thought the same of you. I presumed it wouldn’t hurt to greet you, simply out of respect.”
The Sun smiled and oh. She understands what the little girl meant now.
“Alright. Bid well, my friend.” And with that, they resumed in opposite directions.
The Lady had never walked so quickly in her centuries of watching this world.
In rushed words was the event retold to the little girl. After, the child laughed loudly. Her dog barked enthusiastically at the sound. “My Lady! It seems I was right in my solution. Do you plan on talking more?”
“Why of course,” came the very quick answer.
And talk they did. Every sunset and moonrise, the two would pass on their journey to the other side of the world. Soon, the Moon had learned of the life of insects in flower fields, of herds of animals the Sun had named, of the food humans prepare for themselves and for offerings. The Moon hadn’t even known that humans offered things to her!
Soon did the sunsets become adorned with colors unseen, shimmering with shades of blues and greens rather than the usual red and yellow. Soon did the Moon look forward to walking to the other side of the world, for her friend always awaited her in the middle.
Longer did their talks grow, longer did the Lady stay with the Queen. Once, she even stayed to watch the Sun coax the birds out for their songs. What a thing it was, the beauty of the world in glorious sunlight. She stayed and laughed with the Sun until even the villagers noticed the very faint outline of the Moon in the sky, if only for a few moments.
This, of course, did not evade the clever girl.
She decided to raise this with the Lady. Upon her arrival, the Moon noticed the child’s furrowed brow. “What disturbs you so, little one?” she queried. The girl waggled a finger with disappointment. Her dutiful companion barked in agreement.
“You’ve been getting careless, dear Lady.” she declares. “I’m glad you’ve finally befriended the Queen, but have you noticed the time? You’ve been arriving much too late. Even my father has extended his work time in your absence.” The Lady frowns at this accusation. She opens her mouth to retort, but finds that she is without words. Of course, the human girl had taken note much faster than she. Humans need to sleep, after all. She knew this well.
In regret did she realize her neglectfulness, trading her happiness for the wellbeing of the people she so loved.
A dejectful sigh escaped her lips. “You are correct.”
The Moon obliged the child’s warning, no longer extending her stays with her new friend.
With this returned the loneliness.
Admittedly, the Moon could not stop thinking of the orange beauty of the Sun and her dominion. The extravagance of life and abundance stirred her heart, making her long once more as she lay her half of the world to rest.
This, too, did not go unnoticed by the child.
And yet she did not feel contempt or disappointment. Instead, she felt pity for the Lady. The girl could not deny her own love for the day, with its liveliness and spirit. Intent on mending the Moon’s anguish, she thought of a brilliant invention. She hurried over to her window that night as she held paper, string, and a candle.
“Miss, miss!” she cried, smiling at the sky. The Lady turned her gaze upon the child, eyes tinged with a distant sadness.
“I know of your love for the day, my Lady,” started the young girl. Her deft hands were already making expert creases on the paper as she talked in her eagerness. “You have loved its oranges and yellows just as I have. I cannot fault you for that, miss. But you have returned to your loneliness for you have missed the Sun so.” At this, the Moon nods. She watches as the girl strikes a match on her windowsill, gingerly bringing the tiny flame to the candle attached to the paper.
A moment passed, and the paper had ballooned as it filled with hot air. Gentle fingers tipped the lantern into the night sky.
“I will bring the color of the Sun to you, so you do not miss it in its absence.”
Slowly, slowly, the lantern flew until it graced the hands of the Lady. Her face was lit in a soft orange, delicately echoing the colors of the sunsets she had watched with the Queen.
Tears had spilled from the Moon that night, but not out of sadness.
And so every evening, the girl greeted the Lady with a floating lantern. The girl told her father the next day of her quest to keep the Lady company. Night after night, the lanterns grew in number until each spot in the sky had one, floating aimlessly in the distance. The little girl’s whole family had helped make them, each member speaking to the Moon in their own turn. The ground was no longer as pale as it had once been, now brighter with new stars to shine upon it. Night had never felt more beautiful to the goddess, not in a million years of her long lifespan.
The Moon was content once more.
“She still got to meet the Sun, right?”
A warm laugh escaped Jericho’s lips. “Of course, kiddo. She meets with her to this day.”
Jericho’s son beamed. “That’s good, dad. Can we meet the Moon tonight? I really wanna talk to her!” The father harumphed in response. “You know she’s busy. Making sure everyone gets to rest well, including the animals.”
“Even wolves? Or bears? Or lions?”
Defeated, his son burrowed his face into his pillow. “Well…”
Jericho smoothed down his blanket, smiling softly. “You know how it is. Get some rest.” His son nodded as he yawned. “Night, dad.”
The light turned off with a flick. The door was gently closed. A cold breeze seemed to tug at his sleeves.
Jericho carried his feet down the stairs and through the back door, sitting down in the grass of his backyard. All was silent, save for the whistles of the wind.
“Good evening, my Lady. Care for a chat?”
Light chuckles sounded from beside him. There she is, flowing dress and all.
“Of course, dear child.”